• Adler, R. F., , H-Y. M. Yeh, , N. Prasad, , W-K. Tao, , and J. Simpson, 1991: Microwave simulations of a tropical rainfall system with a three-dimensional cloud model. J. Appl. Meteor., 30 , 924953.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Boccippio, D. J., , S. J. Goodman, , and S. Heckman, 2000: Regional differences in tropical lightning distributions. J. Appl. Meteor., 39 , 22312248.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Boccippio, D. J., , W. J. Koshak, , and R. J. Blakeslee, 2002: Performance assessment of the Optical Transient Detector and Lightning Imaging Sensor. Part I: Predicted diurnal variability. J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 19 , 13181332.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brooks, C. E. P., 1925: The distribution of thunderstorms over the globe. Geophys. Mem. London, 24 , 147164.

  • Buechler, D. E., , and S. J. Goodman, 1990: Echo size and asymmetry: Impact on NEXRAD storm identification. J. Appl. Meteor., 29 , 962969.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Carey, L. D., , and S. A. Rutledge, 2000: The relationship between precipitation and lightning in tropical island convection: A C-band polarimetric radar study. Mon. Wea. Rev., 128 , 26872710.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cecil, D. J., , and E. J. Zipser, 2002: Reflectivity, ice scattering, and lightning characteristics of hurricane eyewalls and rainbands. Part II: Intercomparison of observations. Mon. Wea. Rev., 130 , 785801.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cecil, D. J., , E. J. Zipser, , and S. W. Nesbitt, 2002: Reflectivity, ice scattering, and lightning characteristics of hurricane eyewalls and rainbands. Part I: Quantitative description. Mon. Wea. Rev., 130 , 769784.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Christian, H. J., and Coauthors, 1999: The Lightning Imaging Sensor. Proc. 11th Int. Conf. on Atmospheric Electricity, Guntersville, AL, International Commission on Atmospheric Electricity, 746–749. [Available from NASA Center for Aerospace Information, 800 Elkridge Landing Rd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-2934.].

  • Christian, H. J., and Coauthors, 2003: Global frequency and distribution of lightning as observed from space by the Optical Transient Detector. J. Geophys. Res., 108 .4005, doi:10.1029/2002JD002347.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dye, J. E., , W. P. Winn, , J. J. Jones, , and D. W. Breed, 1989: The electrification of New Mexico thunderstorms. Part I: The relationship between precipitation development and the onset of electrification. J. Geophys. Res., 94 , 86438656.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gremillion, M. S., , and R. E. Orville, 1999: Thunderstorm characteristics of cloud-to-ground lightning at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida: A study of lightning signatures as indicated by the WSR-88D. Wea. Forecasting, 14 , 640649.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kozu, T., and Coauthors, 2001: Development of precipitation radar onboard the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite. IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sens., 39 , 102116.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kummerow, C., , W. Barnes, , T. Kozu, , J. Shiue, , and J. Simpson, 1998: The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) sensor package. J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 15 , 809817.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kummerow, C., and Coauthors, 2000: The status of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) after two years in orbit. J. Appl. Meteor., 39 , 19651982.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lucas, C., , E. J. Zipser, , and M. A. LeMone, 1994: Vertical velocity in oceanic convection off tropical Australia. J. Atmos. Sci., 51 , 33443350.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lucas, C., , E. J. Zipser, , and M. A. LeMone, 1996: Reply. J. Atmos. Sci., 53 , 12121214.

  • Marshall, J. S., , and S. Radhakant, 1978: Radar precipitation maps as lightning indicators. J. Appl. Meteor., 17 , 206212.

  • McCollum, J. R., , and R. R. Ferraro, 2003: Next generation of NOAA/NESDIS TMI, SSM/I, and AMSR-E microwave land rainfall algorithms. J. Geophys. Res., 108 .8382, doi:10.1029/2001JD001512.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Michimoto, K., 1991: A study of radar echoes and their relation to lightning discharge of thunderclouds in the Hokuriku District. Part I: Observation and analysis of thunderclouds in summer and winter. J. Meteor. Soc. Japan, 69 , 327335.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mohr, K. I., , and E. J. Zipser, 1996: Defining mesoscale convective systems by their 85-GHz ice-scattering signatures. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 77 , 11791189.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mohr, K. I., , E. R. Toracinta, , E. J. Zipser, , and R. E. Orville, 1996: A comparison of WSR-88D reflectivities, SSM/I brightness temperatures, and lightning for mesoscale convective systems in Texas. Part II: SSM/I brightness temperatures and lightning. J. Appl. Meteor., 35 , 919931.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mohr, K. I., , J. S. Famiglietti, , and E. J. Zipser, 1999: The contribution to tropical rainfall with respect to convective system type, size, and intensity estimated from the 85-GHz ice-scattering signature. J. Appl. Meteor., 38 , 596605.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nesbitt, S. W., , and E. J. Zipser, 2003: The diurnal cycle of rainfall and convective intensity according to three years of TRMM measurements. J. Climate, 16 , 14561475.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nesbitt, S. W., , E. J. Zipser, , and D. J. Cecil, 2000: A census of precipitation features in the Tropics using TRMM: Radar, ice scattering, and lightning observations. J. Climate, 13 , 40874106.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Orville, R. E., , and R. W. Henderson, 1986: Global distribution of midnight lightning: September 1977 to August 1978. Mon. Wea. Rev., 114 , 26402653.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Petersen, W. A., , and S. A. Rutledge, 2001: Regional variability in tropical convection: Observations from TRMM. J. Climate, 14 , 35663586.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rosenfeld, D., , and I. M. Lensky, 1998: Satellite-based insights into precipitation formation processes in continental and maritime convective clouds. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 79 , 24572476.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Saunders, C. P. R., , and S. L. Peck, 1998: Laboratory studies of the influence of the rime accretion rate on charge transfer during crystal/graupel collisions. J. Geophys. Res., 103 , D12. 1394913956.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shackford, C. R., 1960: Radar indications of a precipitation–lightning relationship in New England thunderstorms. J. Meteor., 17 , 1519.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Skofronick-Jackson, G. M., , and J. R. Wang, 2000: The estimation of hydrometeor profiles from wideband microwave observations. J. Appl. Meteor., 39 , 16451657.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Smith, E. A., , A. Mugnai, , H. J. Cooper, , G. J. Tripoli, , and X. Xiang, 1992: Foundations for statistical physical precipitation retrieval from passive microwave satellite measurements. Part I: Brightness temperature properties of a time-dependent cloud radiation model. J. Appl. Meteor., 31 , 506531.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Spencer, R. W., 1986: A satellite passive 37-GHz scattering-based method for measuring oceanic rain rates. J. Appl. Meteor., 25 , 754766.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Spencer, R. W., , H. M. Goodman, , and R. E. Hood, 1989: Precipitation retrieval over land and ocean with the SSM/I: Identification and characteristics of the scattering signal. J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 6 , 254273.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Takahashi, T., 1978: Riming electrification as a charge generation mechanism in thunderstorms. J. Atmos. Sci., 35 , 15361548.

  • Toracinta, E. R., , and E. J. Zipser, 2001: Lightning and SSM/I-ice-scattering mesoscale convective systems in the global Tropics. J. Appl. Meteor., 40 , 9831002.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Toracinta, E. R., , K. I. Mohr, , E. J. Zipser, , and R. E. Orville, 1996: A comparison of WSR-88D reflectivities, SSM/I brightness temperatures, and lightning for mesoscale convective systems in Texas. Part I: Radar reflectivity and lightning. J. Appl. Meteor., 35 , 902918.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Toracinta, E. R., , D. J. Cecil, , E. J. Zipser, , and S. W. Nesbitt, 2002: Radar, passive microwave, and lightning characteristics of precipitating systems in the Tropics. Mon. Wea. Rev., 130 , 802824.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vivekanandan, J., , J. Turk, , G. L. Stephens, , and V. N. Bringi, 1990: Microwave radiative transfer studies using combined multiparameter radar and radiometer measurements during COHMEX. J. Appl. Meteor., 29 , 561585.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vivekanandan, J., , J. Turk, , and V. N. Bringi, 1991: Ice water path estimation and characterization using passive microwave radiometry. J. Appl. Meteor., 30 , 14071421.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Williams, E. R., , and N. O. Renno, 1993: An analysis of the conditional instability in the tropical atmosphere. Mon. Wea. Rev., 121 , 2136.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Williams, E. R., , and S. Stanfill, 2002: The physical origin of the land–ocean contrast in lightning activity. Comp. Rendus Phys., 3 , 12771292.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Williams, E. R., and Coauthors, 2002: Contrasting convective regimes over the Amazon: Implications for cloud electrification. J. Geophys. Res., 107 .8082, doi:10.1029/2001JD000380.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Williams, E. R., , V. Mushtak, , D. Rosenfeld, , S. Goodman, , and D. Boccippio, 2004: Thermodynamic conditions favorable to superlative thunderstorm updraft, mixed phase microphysics and lightning flash rate. Atmos. Res. in press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zipser, E. J., 2003: Some views on “hot towers” after 50 years of tropical field programs and two years of TRMM data. Cloud Systems, Hurricanes, and the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM)—A Tribute to Dr. Joanne Simpson, Meteor. Monogr., No. 51, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 49–58.

  • Zipser, E. J., , and K. R. Lutz, 1994: The vertical profile of radar reflectivity of convective cells: A strong indicator of storm intensity and lightning probability? Mon. Wea. Rev., 122 , 17511759.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 84 84 12
PDF Downloads 66 66 4

Three Years of TRMM Precipitation Features. Part I: Radar, Radiometric, and Lightning Characteristics

View More View Less
  • 1 University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, Alabama
  • | 2 NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama
  • | 3 University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • | 4 Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
© Get Permissions
Restricted access

Abstract

During its first three years, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite observed nearly six million precipitation features. The population of precipitation features is sorted by lightning flash rate, minimum brightness temperature, maximum radar reflectivity, areal extent, and volumetric rainfall. For each of these characteristics, essentially describing the convective intensity or the size of the features, the population is broken into categories consisting of the top 0.001%, top 0.01%, top 0.1%, top 1%, top 2.4%, and remaining 97.6%. The set of “weakest/smallest” features composes 97.6% of the population because that fraction does not have detected lightning, with a minimum detectable flash rate of 0.7 flashes (fl) min−1. The greatest observed flash rate is 1351 fl min−1; the lowest brightness temperatures are 42 K (85 GHz) and 69 K (37 GHz). The largest precipitation feature covers 335 000 km2, and the greatest rainfall from an individual precipitation feature exceeds 2 × 1012 kg h−1 of water. There is considerable overlap between the greatest storms according to different measures of convective intensity. The largest storms are mostly independent of the most intense storms. The set of storms producing the most rainfall is a convolution of the largest and the most intense storms.

This analysis is a composite of the global Tropics and subtropics. Significant variability is known to exist between locations, seasons, and meteorological regimes. Such variability will be examined in Part II. In Part I, only a crude land–ocean separation is made. The known differences in bulk lightning flash rates over land and ocean result from at least two differences in the precipitation feature population: the frequency of occurrence of intense storms and the magnitude of those intense storms that do occur. Even when restricted to storms with the same brightness temperature, same size, or same radar reflectivity aloft, the storms over water are considerably less likely to produce lightning than are comparable storms over land.

Corresponding author address: Daniel J. Cecil, Earth System Science Center, University of Alabama in Huntsville, 320 Sparkman Dr., Huntsville, AL 35805. Email: Daniel.Cecil@msfc.nasa.gov

Abstract

During its first three years, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite observed nearly six million precipitation features. The population of precipitation features is sorted by lightning flash rate, minimum brightness temperature, maximum radar reflectivity, areal extent, and volumetric rainfall. For each of these characteristics, essentially describing the convective intensity or the size of the features, the population is broken into categories consisting of the top 0.001%, top 0.01%, top 0.1%, top 1%, top 2.4%, and remaining 97.6%. The set of “weakest/smallest” features composes 97.6% of the population because that fraction does not have detected lightning, with a minimum detectable flash rate of 0.7 flashes (fl) min−1. The greatest observed flash rate is 1351 fl min−1; the lowest brightness temperatures are 42 K (85 GHz) and 69 K (37 GHz). The largest precipitation feature covers 335 000 km2, and the greatest rainfall from an individual precipitation feature exceeds 2 × 1012 kg h−1 of water. There is considerable overlap between the greatest storms according to different measures of convective intensity. The largest storms are mostly independent of the most intense storms. The set of storms producing the most rainfall is a convolution of the largest and the most intense storms.

This analysis is a composite of the global Tropics and subtropics. Significant variability is known to exist between locations, seasons, and meteorological regimes. Such variability will be examined in Part II. In Part I, only a crude land–ocean separation is made. The known differences in bulk lightning flash rates over land and ocean result from at least two differences in the precipitation feature population: the frequency of occurrence of intense storms and the magnitude of those intense storms that do occur. Even when restricted to storms with the same brightness temperature, same size, or same radar reflectivity aloft, the storms over water are considerably less likely to produce lightning than are comparable storms over land.

Corresponding author address: Daniel J. Cecil, Earth System Science Center, University of Alabama in Huntsville, 320 Sparkman Dr., Huntsville, AL 35805. Email: Daniel.Cecil@msfc.nasa.gov

Save