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Kamil Mroz
,
Alessandro Battaglia
,
Timothy J. Lang
,
Simone Tanelli
, and
Gian Franco Sacco

Abstract

A statistical analysis of simultaneous observations of more than 800 hailstorms over the continental United States performed by the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) and the ground-based Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) network has been carried out. Several distinctive features of DPR measurements of hail-bearing columns, potentially exploitable by hydrometeor classification algorithms, are identified. In particular, the height and the strength of the Ka-band reflectivity peak show a strong relationship with the hail shaft area within the instrument field of view (FOV). Signatures of multiple scattering (MS) at the Ka band are observed for a range of rimed particles, including but not exclusively for hail. MS amplifies uncertainty in the effective Ka reflectivity estimate and has a negative impact on the accuracy of dual-frequency rainfall retrievals at the ground. The hydrometeor composition of convective cells presents a large inhomogeneity within the DPR FOV. Strong nonuniform beamfilling (NUBF) introduces large ambiguities in the attenuation correction at Ku and Ka bands, which additionally hamper quantitative retrievals. The effective detection of profiles affected by MS is a very challenging task, since the inhomogeneity within the DPR FOV may result in measurements that look remarkably like MS signatures. The shape of the DPR reflectivity profiles is the result of the complex interplay between the scattering properties of the different hydrometeors, NUBF, and MS effects, which significantly reduces the ability of the DPR system to detect hail at the ground.

Open access
Nick K. Beavis
,
Timothy J. Lang
,
Steven A. Rutledge
,
Walter A. Lyons
, and
Steven A. Cummer

Abstract

The use of both total charge moment change (CMC) and impulse charge moment change (iCMC) magnitudes to assess the potential of a cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning stroke to induce a mesospheric sprite has been well described in the literature, particularly on a case study basis. In this climatological study, large iCMC discharges for thresholds of >100 and >300 C km in both positive and negative polarities are analyzed on a seasonal basis. Also presented are local solar time diurnal distributions in eight different regions covering the lower 48 states as well as the adjacent Atlantic Ocean, including the Gulf Stream.

The seasonal maps show the predisposition of large positive iCMCs to dominate across the northern Great Plains, with large negative iCMCs favored in the southeastern United States year-round. During summer, the highest frequency of large positive iCMCs across the upper Midwest aligns closely with the preferred tracks of nocturnal mesoscale convective systems (MCSs). As iCMC values increase above 300 C km, the maximum shifts eastward of the 100 C km maximum in the central plains.

Diurnal distributions in the eight regions support these conclusions, with a nocturnal peak in large iCMC discharges in the northern Great Plains and Great Lakes, an early to midafternoon peak in the Intermountain West and the southeastern United States, and a morning peak in large iCMC discharge activity over the Atlantic Ocean. Large negative iCMCs peak earlier in time than large positive iCMCs, which may be attributed to the growth of large stratiform charge reservoirs following initial convective development.

Full access
Timothy J. Lang
,
David A. Ahijevych
,
Stephen W. Nesbitt
,
Richard E. Carbone
,
Steven A. Rutledge
, and
Robert Cifelli

Abstract

A multiradar network, operated in the southern Gulf of California (GoC) region during the 2004 North American Monsoon Experiment, is used to analyze the spatial and temporal variabilities of local precipitation. Based on the initial findings of this analysis, it is found that terrain played a key role in this variability, as the diurnal cycle was dominated by convective triggering during the afternoon over the peaks and foothills of the Sierra Madre Occidental (SMO). Precipitating systems grew upscale and moved WNW toward the gulf. Distinct precipitation regimes within the monsoon are identified. The first, regime A, corresponded to enhanced precipitation over the southern portions of the coast and GoC, typically during the overnight and early morning hours. This was due to precipitating systems surviving the westward trip (∼7 m s−1; 3–4 m s−1 in excess of steering winds) from the SMO after sunset, likely because of enhanced environmental wind shear as diagnosed from local soundings. The second, regime B, corresponded to the significant northward/along-coast movement of systems (∼10 m s−1; 4–5 m s−1 in excess of steering winds) and often overlapped with regime A. The weak propagation is explainable by shallow–weak cold pools. Reanalysis data suggest that tropical easterly waves were associated with the occurrence of disturbed regimes. Gulf surges occurred during a small subset of these regimes, so they played a minor role during 2004. Mesoscale convective systems and other organized systems were responsible for most of the rainfall in this region, particularly during the disturbed regimes.

Full access
Michael J. Peterson
,
Timothy J. Lang
,
Timothy Logan
,
Cheong Wee Kiong
,
Morne Gijben
,
Ron Holle
,
Ivana Kolmasova
,
Martino Marisaldi
,
Joan Montanya
,
Sunil D. Pawar
,
Daile Zhang
,
Manola Brunet
, and
Randall S. Cerveny
Full access
Timothy J. Lang
,
Eldo E. Ávila
,
Richard J. Blakeslee
,
Jeff Burchfield
,
Matthew Wingo
,
Phillip M. Bitzer
,
Lawrence D. Carey
,
Wiebke Deierling
,
Steven J. Goodman
,
Bruno Lisboa Medina
,
Gregory Melo
, and
Rodolfo G. Pereyra

Abstract

During November 2018–April 2019, an 11-station very high frequency (VHF) Lightning Mapping Array (LMA) was deployed to Córdoba Province, Argentina. The purpose of the LMA was validation of the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM), but the deployment was coordinated with two field campaigns. The LMA observed 2.9 million flashes (≥ five sources) during 163 days, and level-1 (VHF locations), level-2 (flashes classified), and level-3 (gridded products) datasets have been made public. The network’s performance allows scientifically useful analysis within 100 km when at least seven stations were active. Careful analysis beyond 100 km is also possible. The LMA dataset includes many examples of intense storms with extremely high flash rates (>1 s−1), electrical discharges in overshooting tops (OTs), as well as anomalously charged thunderstorms with low-altitude lightning. The modal flash altitude was 10 km, but many flashes occurred at very high altitude (15–20 km). There were also anomalous and stratiform flashes near 5–7 km in altitude. Most flashes were small (<50 km2 area). Comparisons with GLM on 14 and 20 December 2018 indicated that GLM most successfully detected larger flashes (i.e., more than 100 VHF sources), with detection efficiency (DE) up to 90%. However, GLM DE was reduced for flashes that were smaller or that occurred lower in the cloud (e.g., near 6-km altitude). GLM DE also was reduced during a period of OT electrical discharges. Overall, GLM DE was a strong function of thunderstorm evolution and the dominant characteristics of the lightning it produced.

Free access
Timothy J. Lang
,
Stéphane Pédeboy
,
William Rison
,
Randall S. Cerveny
,
Joan Montanyà
,
Serge Chauzy
,
Donald R. MacGorman
,
Ronald L. Holle
,
Eldo E. Ávila
,
Yijun Zhang
,
Gregory Carbin
,
Edward R. Mansell
,
Yuriy Kuleshov
,
Thomas C. Peterson
,
Manola Brunet
,
Fatima Driouech
, and
Daniel S. Krahenbuhl

Abstract

A World Meteorological Organization weather and climate extremes committee has judged that the world’s longest reported distance for a single lightning flash occurred with a horizontal distance of 321 km (199.5 mi) over Oklahoma in 2007, while the world’s longest reported duration for a single lightning flash is an event that lasted continuously for 7.74 s over southern France in 2012. In addition, the committee has unanimously recommended amendment of the AMS Glossary of Meteorology definition of lightning discharge as a “series of electrical processes taking place within 1 s” by removing the phrase “within 1 s” and replacing it with “continuously.” Validation of these new world extremes 1) demonstrates the recent and ongoing dramatic augmentations and improvements to regional lightning detection and measurement networks, 2) provides reinforcement regarding the dangers of lightning, and 3) provides new information for lightning engineering concerns.

Full access
Timothy J. Lang
,
L. Jay Miller
,
Morris Weisman
,
Steven A. Rutledge
,
Llyle J. Barker III
,
V. N. Bringi
,
V. Chandrasekar
,
Andrew Detwiler
,
Nolan Doesken
,
John Helsdon
,
Charles Knight
,
Paul Krehbiel
,
Walter A. Lyons
,
Don MacGorman
,
Erik Rasmussen
,
William Rison
,
W. David Rust
, and
Ronald J. Thomas

During May–July 2000, the Severe Thunderstorm Electrification and Precipitation Study (STEPS) occurred in the High Plains, near the Colorado–Kansas border. STEPS aimed to achieve a better understanding of the interactions between kinematics, precipitation, and electrification in severe thunderstorms. Specific scientific objectives included 1) understanding the apparent major differences in precipitation output from supercells that have led to them being classified as low precipitation (LP), classic or medium precipitation, and high precipitation; 2) understanding lightning formation and behavior in storms, and how lightning differs among storm types, particularly to better understand the mechanisms by which storms produce predominantly positive cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning; and 3) verifying and improving microphysical interpretations from polarimetric radar. The project involved the use of a multiple-Doppler polarimetric radar network, as well as a time-of-arrival very high frequency (VHF) lightning mapping system, an armored research aircraft, electric field meters carried on balloons, mobile mesonet vehicles, instruments to detect and classify transient luminous events (TLEs; e.g., sprites and blue jets) over thunderstorms, and mobile atmospheric sounding equipment. The project featured significant collaboration with the local National Weather Service office in Goodland, Kansas, as well as outreach to the general public. The project gathered data on a number of different cases, including LP storms, supercells, and mesoscale convective systems, among others. Many of the storms produced mostly positive CG lightning during significant portions of their lifetimes and also exhibited unusual electrical structures with opposite polarity to ordinary thunderstorms. The field data from STEPS is expected to bring new advances to understanding of supercells, positive CG lightning, TLEs, and precipitation formation in convective storms.

Full access
Lynn A. McMurdie
,
Gerald M. Heymsfield
,
John E. Yorks
,
Scott A. Braun
,
Gail Skofronick-Jackson
,
Robert M. Rauber
,
Sandra Yuter
,
Brian Colle
,
Greg M. McFarquhar
,
Michael Poellot
,
David R. Novak
,
Timothy J. Lang
,
Rachael Kroodsma
,
Matthew McLinden
,
Mariko Oue
,
Pavlos Kollias
,
Matthew R. Kumjian
,
Steven J. Greybush
,
Andrew J. Heymsfield
,
Joseph A. Finlon
,
Victoria L. McDonald
, and
Stephen Nicholls

Abstract

The Investigation of Microphysics and Precipitation for Atlantic Coast-Threatening Snowstorms (IMPACTS) is a NASA-sponsored field campaign to study wintertime snowstorms focusing on East Coast cyclones. This large cooperative effort takes place during the winters of 2020–23 to study precipitation variability in winter cyclones to improve remote sensing and numerical forecasts of snowfall. Snowfall within these storms is frequently organized in banded structures on multiple scales. The causes for the occurrence and evolution of a wide spectrum of snowbands remain poorly understood. The goals of IMPACTS are to characterize the spatial and temporal scales and structures of snowbands, understand their dynamical, thermodynamical, and microphysical processes, and apply this understanding to improve remote sensing and modeling of snowfall. The first deployment took place in January–February 2020 with two aircraft that flew coordinated flight patterns and sampled a range of storms from the Midwest to the East Coast. The satellite-simulating ER-2 aircraft flew above the clouds and carried a suite of remote sensing instruments including cloud and precipitation radars, lidar, and passive microwave radiometers. The in situ P-3 aircraft flew within the clouds and sampled environmental and microphysical quantities. Ground-based radar measurements from the National Weather Service network and a suite of radars located on Long Island, New York, along with supplemental soundings and the New York State Mesonet ground network provided environmental context for the airborne observations. Future deployments will occur during the 2022 and 2023 winters. The coordination between remote sensing and in situ platforms makes this a unique publicly available dataset applicable to a wide variety of interests.

Full access
Wayne Higgins
,
Dave Ahijevych
,
Jorge Amador
,
Ana Barros
,
E. Hugo Berbery
,
Ernesto Caetano
,
Richard Carbone
,
Paul Ciesielski
,
Rob Cifelli
,
Miguel Cortez-Vazquez
,
Art Douglas
,
Michael Douglas
,
Gus Emmanuel
,
Chris Fairall
,
David Gochis
,
David Gutzler
,
Thomas Jackson
,
Richard Johnson
,
Clark King
,
Timothy Lang
,
Myong-In Lee
,
Dennis Lettenmaier
,
Rene Lobato
,
Victor Magaña
,
Jose Meiten
,
Kingtse Mo
,
Stephen Nesbitt
,
Francisco Ocampo-Torres
,
Erik Pytlak
,
Peter Rogers
,
Steven Rutledge
,
Jae Schemm
,
Siegfried Schubert
,
Allen White
,
Christopher Williams
,
Andrew Wood
,
Robert Zamora
, and
Chidong Zhang

The North American Monsoon Experiment (NAME) is an internationally coordinated process study aimed at determining the sources and limits of predictability of warm-season precipitation over North America. The scientific objectives of NAME are to promote a better understanding and more realistic simulation of warm-season convective processes in complex terrain, intraseasonal variability of the monsoon, and the response of the warm-season atmospheric circulation and precipitation patterns to slowly varying, potentially predictable surface boundary conditions.

During the summer of 2004, the NAME community implemented an international (United States, Mexico, Central America), multiagency (NOAA, NASA, NSF, USDA) field experiment called NAME 2004. This article presents early results from the NAME 2004 campaign and describes how the NAME modeling community will leverage the NAME 2004 data to accelerate improvements in warm-season precipitation forecasts for North America.

Full access
Mary C. Barth
,
Christopher A. Cantrell
,
William H. Brune
,
Steven A. Rutledge
,
James H. Crawford
,
Heidi Huntrieser
,
Lawrence D. Carey
,
Donald MacGorman
,
Morris Weisman
,
Kenneth E. Pickering
,
Eric Bruning
,
Bruce Anderson
,
Eric Apel
,
Michael Biggerstaff
,
Teresa Campos
,
Pedro Campuzano-Jost
,
Ronald Cohen
,
John Crounse
,
Douglas A. Day
,
Glenn Diskin
,
Frank Flocke
,
Alan Fried
,
Charity Garland
,
Brian Heikes
,
Shawn Honomichl
,
Rebecca Hornbrook
,
L. Gregory Huey
,
Jose L. Jimenez
,
Timothy Lang
,
Michael Lichtenstern
,
Tomas Mikoviny
,
Benjamin Nault
,
Daniel O’Sullivan
,
Laura L. Pan
,
Jeff Peischl
,
Ilana Pollack
,
Dirk Richter
,
Daniel Riemer
,
Thomas Ryerson
,
Hans Schlager
,
Jason St. Clair
,
James Walega
,
Petter Weibring
,
Andrew Weinheimer
,
Paul Wennberg
,
Armin Wisthaler
,
Paul J. Wooldridge
, and
Conrad Ziegler

Abstract

The Deep Convective Clouds and Chemistry (DC3) field experiment produced an exceptional dataset on thunderstorms, including their dynamical, physical, and electrical structures and their impact on the chemical composition of the troposphere. The field experiment gathered detailed information on the chemical composition of the inflow and outflow regions of midlatitude thunderstorms in northeast Colorado, west Texas to central Oklahoma, and northern Alabama. A unique aspect of the DC3 strategy was to locate and sample the convective outflow a day after active convection in order to measure the chemical transformations within the upper-tropospheric convective plume. These data are being analyzed to investigate transport and dynamics of the storms, scavenging of soluble trace gases and aerosols, production of nitrogen oxides by lightning, relationships between lightning flash rates and storm parameters, chemistry in the upper troposphere that is affected by the convection, and related source characterization of the three sampling regions. DC3 also documented biomass-burning plumes and the interactions of these plumes with deep convection.

Full access