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Eldo E. Avila, Guillermo G. Aguirre Varela, and Giorgio M. Caranti


Charge transfer between colliding ice particles is measured using a wind tunnel inside a cold room. A cylinder growing by riming in a wind tunnel was used as a target for collisions between 5 and 6 m s−1 with ice spheres of 100-µm diameter. The target temperature was adjusted to simulate different liquid water concentrations. As the target temperature increased, for air temperatures below −18°C, initial positive target charging reversed sign to negative; with a further temperature increase the charging reversed sign again. These measurements, which are relevant to thunderstorm electrification, were carried out with and without riming and results are compared with other works. A novel approach is presented here suggesting a new pair of variables describing the charging.

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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


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.

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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


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.

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