The Relationship of Lightning to Surface Convergence at Kennedy Space Center: A Preliminary Study

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  • 1 NOAA, Environmental Research Laboratories, Weather Research Program, Boulder, CO 80303
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Abstract

Cloud-to-ground lightning is a significant meteorological problem at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). Of particular importance is the growth of lightning-bearing clouds in the vicinity of KSC, for which warnings must be considered on a daily basis. In this study, lightning was related in time and space with surface convergence for 42 days during the summer of 1983 over a 280 km2 analysis area at KSC. Several events are examined in detail. Previous studies in south Florida have shown that a signature in the surface convergence field frequently precedes convective precipitation; however, the 1983 KSC data constitute the first dataset interrelating the surface wind field, radar echoes, and lightning. It is emphasized that a larger surface-wind network is needed to validate these preliminary result, together with monitoring and understanding the synoptic-scale situation based on upper-air and other reports in the region.

Abstract

Cloud-to-ground lightning is a significant meteorological problem at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). Of particular importance is the growth of lightning-bearing clouds in the vicinity of KSC, for which warnings must be considered on a daily basis. In this study, lightning was related in time and space with surface convergence for 42 days during the summer of 1983 over a 280 km2 analysis area at KSC. Several events are examined in detail. Previous studies in south Florida have shown that a signature in the surface convergence field frequently precedes convective precipitation; however, the 1983 KSC data constitute the first dataset interrelating the surface wind field, radar echoes, and lightning. It is emphasized that a larger surface-wind network is needed to validate these preliminary result, together with monitoring and understanding the synoptic-scale situation based on upper-air and other reports in the region.

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