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Rachel I. Albrecht, Steven J. Goodman, Dennis E. Buechler, Richard J. Blakeslee, and Hugh J. Christian

Abstract

Previous total lightning climatology studies using Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS) observations were reported at coarse resolution (0.5°) and employed significant spatial and temporal smoothing to account for sampling limitations of TRMM’s tropical to subtropical low-Earth-orbit coverage. The analysis reported here uses a 16-yr reprocessed dataset to create a very high-resolution (0.1°) climatology with no further spatial averaging. This analysis reveals that Earth’s principal lightning hotspot occurs over Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela, while the highest flash rate density hotspot previously found at the lower 0.5°-resolution sampling was found in the Congo basin in Africa. Lake Maracaibo’s pattern of convergent windflow (mountain–valley, lake, and sea breezes) occurs over the warm lake waters nearly year-round and contributes to nocturnal thunderstorm development 297 days per year on average. These thunderstorms are very localized, and their persistent development anchored in one location accounts for the high flash rate density. Several other inland lakes with similar conditions, that is, deep nocturnal convection driven by locally forced convergent flow over a warm lake surface, are also revealed.

Africa is the continent with the most lightning hotspots, followed by Asia, South America, North America, and Australia. A climatological map of the local hour of maximum flash rate density reveals that most oceanic total lightning maxima are related to nocturnal thunderstorms, while continental lightning tends to occur during the afternoon. Most of the principal continental maxima are located near major mountain ranges, revealing the importance of local topography in thunderstorm development.

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Luiz A. T. Machado, Maria A. F. Silva Dias, Carlos Morales, Gilberto Fisch, Daniel Vila, Rachel Albrecht, Steven J. Goodman, Alan J. P. Calheiros, Thiago Biscaro, Christian Kummerow, Julia Cohen, David Fitzjarrald, Ernani L. Nascimento, Meiry S. Sakamoto, Christopher Cunningham, Jean-Pierre Chaboureau, Walter A. Petersen, David K. Adams, Luca Baldini, Carlos F. Angelis, Luiz F. Sapucci, Paola Salio, Henrique M. J. Barbosa, Eduardo Landulfo, Rodrigo A. F. Souza, Richard J. Blakeslee, Jeffrey Bailey, Saulo Freitas, Wagner F. A. Lima, and Ali Tokay

CHUVA, meaning “rain” in Portuguese, is the acronym for the Cloud Processes of the Main Precipitation Systems in Brazil: A Contribution to Cloud-Resolving Modeling and to the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM). The CHUVA project has conducted five field campaigns; the sixth and last campaign will be held in Manaus in 2014. The primary scientific objective of CHUVA is to contribute to the understanding of cloud processes, which represent one of the least understood components of the weather and climate system. The five CHUVA campaigns were designed to investigate specific tropical weather regimes. The first two experiments, in Alcantara and Fortaleza in northeastern Brazil, focused on warm clouds. The third campaign, which was conducted in Belém, was dedicated to tropical squall lines that often form along the sea-breeze front. The fourth campaign was in the Vale do Paraiba of southeastern Brazil, which is a region with intense lightning activity. In addition to contributing to the understanding of cloud process evolution from storms to thunderstorms, this fourth campaign also provided a high-fidelity total lightning proxy dataset for the NOAA Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-R program. The fifth campaign was carried out in Santa Maria, in southern Brazil, a region of intense hailstorms associated with frequent mesoscale convective complexes. This campaign employed a multimodel high-resolution ensemble experiment. The data collected from contrasting precipitation regimes in tropical continental regions allow the various cloud processes in diverse environments to be compared. Some examples of these previous experiments are presented to illustrate the variability of convection across the tropics.

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Manfred Wendisch, Ulrich Pöschl, Meinrat O. Andreae, Luiz A. T. Machado, Rachel Albrecht, Hans Schlager, Daniel Rosenfeld, Scot T. Martin, Ahmed Abdelmonem, Armin Afchine, Alessandro C. Araùjo, Paulo Artaxo, Heinfried Aufmhoff, Henrique M. J. Barbosa, Stephan Borrmann, Ramon Braga, Bernhard Buchholz, Micael Amore Cecchini, Anja Costa, Joachim Curtius, Maximilian Dollner, Marcel Dorf, Volker Dreiling, Volker Ebert, André Ehrlich, Florian Ewald, Gilberto Fisch, Andreas Fix, Fabian Frank, Daniel Fütterer, Christopher Heckl, Fabian Heidelberg, Tilman Hüneke, Evelyn Jäkel, Emma Järvinen, Tina Jurkat, Sandra Kanter, Udo Kästner, Mareike Kenntner, Jürgen Kesselmeier, Thomas Klimach, Matthias Knecht, Rebecca Kohl, Tobias Kölling, Martina Krämer, Mira Krüger, Trismono Candra Krisna, Jost V. Lavric, Karla Longo, Christoph Mahnke, Antonio O. Manzi, Bernhard Mayer, Stephan Mertes, Andreas Minikin, Sergej Molleker, Steffen Münch, Björn Nillius, Klaus Pfeilsticker, Christopher Pöhlker, Anke Roiger, Diana Rose, Dagmar Rosenow, Daniel Sauer, Martin Schnaiter, Johannes Schneider, Christiane Schulz, Rodrigo A. F. de Souza, Antonio Spanu, Paul Stock, Daniel Vila, Christiane Voigt, Adrian Walser, David Walter, Ralf Weigel, Bernadett Weinzierl, Frank Werner, Marcia A. Yamasoe, Helmut Ziereis, Tobias Zinner, and Martin Zöger

Abstract

Between 1 September and 4 October 2014, a combined airborne and ground-based measurement campaign was conducted to study tropical deep convective clouds over the Brazilian Amazon rain forest. The new German research aircraft, High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft (HALO), a modified Gulfstream G550, and extensive ground-based instrumentation were deployed in and near Manaus (State of Amazonas). The campaign was part of the German–Brazilian Aerosol, Cloud, Precipitation, and Radiation Interactions and Dynamics of Convective Cloud Systems–Cloud Processes of the Main Precipitation Systems in Brazil: A Contribution to Cloud Resolving Modeling and to the GPM (Global Precipitation Measurement) (ACRIDICON– CHUVA) venture to quantify aerosol–cloud–precipitation interactions and their thermodynamic, dynamic, and radiative effects by in situ and remote sensing measurements over Amazonia. The ACRIDICON–CHUVA field observations were carried out in cooperation with the second intensive operating period of Green Ocean Amazon 2014/15 (GoAmazon2014/5). In this paper we focus on the airborne data measured on HALO, which was equipped with about 30 in situ and remote sensing instruments for meteorological, trace gas, aerosol, cloud, precipitation, and spectral solar radiation measurements. Fourteen research flights with a total duration of 96 flight hours were performed. Five scientific topics were pursued: 1) cloud vertical evolution and life cycle (cloud profiling), 2) cloud processing of aerosol particles and trace gases (inflow and outflow), 3) satellite and radar validation (cloud products), 4) vertical transport and mixing (tracer experiment), and 5) cloud formation over forested/deforested areas. Data were collected in near-pristine atmospheric conditions and in environments polluted by biomass burning and urban emissions. The paper presents a general introduction of the ACRIDICON– CHUVA campaign (motivation and addressed research topics) and of HALO with its extensive instrument package, as well as a presentation of a few selected measurement results acquired during the flights for some selected scientific topics.

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