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Kelsey B. Thompson, Monte G. Bateman, and Lawrence D. Carey

Abstract

Lightning stroke data from both the World Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN) and the Earth Networks Total Lightning Network (ENTLN) were compared to lightning group data from the Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS) from 1 January 2010 through 30 June 2011. The region of study, from 39°S to 39°N latitude, chosen based on the orbit of LIS, and 164°E east to 17°W longitude, chosen to approximate the possible Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) longitude, was considered in its entirety and then divided into geographical subregions. Over this 18-month time period, WWLLN had an 11.0% entire region, 13.2% North American, 6.2% South American, 16.4% Atlantic Ocean, and 18.9% Pacific Ocean coincidence percent (CP) value. The ENTLN CP values were 28.5%, 63.3%, 2.2%, 3.0%, and 2.5%, respectively. During the 18 months, WWLLN CP values remained rather consistent but low and often higher over ocean than land; ENTLN CP values showed large spatial and temporal variability. With both networks, North America had less variability during summer months than winter months and higher CP values during winter months than summer months. The highest ENTLN CP values were found in the southeastern United States, especially in a semicircle that extended from central Oklahoma, through Texas, along the northern Gulf of Mexico, across southern Florida, and along the U.S. East Coast. There was no significant change in CP values over time; the lowest monthly North American ENTLN CP value was found in June 2011 at 48.1%, the last month analyzed. These findings are consistent with most ENTLN sensors being located in the United States.

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Kelsey B. Thompson, Monte G. Bateman, and John R. Mecikalski

Abstract

A total of 13 ocean-based wind events from 2018, detected by buoys and Coastal-Marine Automated Network (C-MAN) stations, were analyzed using 1-min mesoscale sector Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) cloud top brightness temperature (CTTB) data, as well as 1-min Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) lightning data. The ABI and GLM instruments are located on the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-16 (GOES-16) satellite. An oceanic wind event was defined as a buoy or C-MAN station-recorded peak wind gust of at least 14 m s−1, associated with a convective storm. The wind gust was required to exceed the wind speed by at least 4 m s−1 at the time of the event, but not exceed the corresponding wind speed by at least 4 m s−1 for more than 30 min. This study hypothesized that prior to a wind event, there should be unique signatures in ABI CTTB and GLM lightning datasets. The presumption was that the minimum CTTB and maximum flash rate should occur near the same time and prior to the event. The minimum CTTB occurred an average of 10.5 min and a median of 7 min prior to events, with a range from 29 min prior to 1 min after the event. Changes in CTTB were often subtle. A maximum flash rate occurred within 5 min of the minimum CTTB for 11 of the 12 events with lightning and did not exceed 11 flashes per minute for 9 of the 12 events with lightning. Operational weather forecasters might use CTTB and lightning trends to help identify storms capable of producing significant oceanic wind events.

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Monte G. Bateman, W. David Rust, and Thomas C. Marshall

Abstract

A new balloon-borne instrument created by the authors and referred to as the q-d instrument that measures the charge q and size d of precipitation particles is discussed. The instrument measures charge with an induction cylinder size with an optical sensor, and fall speed by the time difference between the two. A second induction cylinder at the top serves as the entry point and detects precipitation that splashes off the entry. In this way, particles contaminated by splashing are removed from the data. It is capable of measuring particle sizes ranging from 0.8 to 8.0 mm in diameter and charges ranging from ±4 to ±400 pC. Since the size is measured optically, one can detect uncharged particles and measure their size. The q-d instrument does not show evidence of corona at its extremities until the electric field is as large as 100 kV m−1 at 700 mb.

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Francis J. Merceret, Jennifer G. Ward, Douglas M. Mach, Monte G. Bateman, and James E. Dye

Abstract

Electric-field measurements made in and near clouds during two airborne field programs are presented. Aircraft equipped with multiple electric-field mills and cloud physics sensors were flown near active convection and into thunderstorm anvil and debris clouds. The magnitude of the electric field was measured as a function of position with respect to the cloud edge to provide an observational basis for modifications to the lightning launch commit criteria (LLCC) used by the U.S. space program. These LLCC are used to reduce the risk that an ascending launch vehicle will trigger a lightning strike that could cause the loss of the mission or vehicle. Even with fields of tens of kV m−1 inside electrically active convective clouds, the fields external to these clouds decay to less than 3 kV m−1 within 15 km of cloud edge. Fields that exceed 3 kV m−1 were not found external to anvil and debris clouds.

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