Convective Meteorology (Mesoscale Dynamics)

A Qualitative Verification of Theories of Controls on Lightning Flash Size Spectra

Liz DiGangi

School of Meteorology

25 March 2016, 3:00 PM

National Weather Center, Room 5600
120 David L. Boren Blvd.
University of Oklahoma
Norman, OK

Using high-resolution Lightning Mapping Array (LMA) data, Bruning and MacGorman (2013) showed that, for two supercell thunderstorms, a 5/3 power-law exists in the relationship between energetically-scaled flash rates and areas for flashes on the order of 1-10 km in length. They found that the shapes of the flash energy spectra for these supercells during their mature phases were similar to the shapes of the turbulent kinetic energy spectra of thunderstorms modeled by Bryan et al. (2003). The purpose of this study is to replicate the analyses of Bruning and MacGorman (2013) for a new supercell case from Oklahoma, which took place on 29 May 2012, and which was heavily sampled during the Deep Convective Clouds and Chemistry experiment. In addition to comparing the flash energy spectra of the new case with the results of the original study, the horizontal distribution of average flash sizes observed in the storm will be compared with dual-Doppler 3-D wind retrievals with the intent of qualitatively evaluating the theories proposed by Bruning and MacGorman regarding the relationships between lightning characteristics and thunderstorm kinematics.

Convective Meteorology (Mesoscale Dynamics) Seminar Series website