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Wenjuan Zhang, Yijun Zhang, Dong Zheng, and Xiuji Zhou


Cloud-to-ground lightning data and storm intensity data (winds and central pressure) for 33 northwest Pacific tropical cyclones were used to analyze lightning distributions during the period of landfall in China. Lightning activities varied enormously from storm to storm with an average flash rate over 500 km of radius from 3 to 3201 flashes per hour, and no obvious relationship between average intensity and average flash rate occurred. The maximum flash density shifted from the eyewall region (0–60 km) to outer rainbands (180–500 km) as the intensity level increased. The average ratio of flash density in the eyewall to outer rainband was highest (1:0.5) for storms with the level of a tropical storm (17.2–24.4 m s−1) and lowest (1:8.6) for severe typhoons (41.5–50.9 m s−1). After storm landfall, flash density in the rainband decreased more rapidly in severe typhoons than in severe tropical storms (24.5–32.6 m s−1) and typhoons, but increased in tropical depressions (10.8–17.1 m s−1) and tropical storms. With the strength of intensity level, lightning in the outer rainband gradually weakened after the storm landfall.

Lightning outbreaks were identified in a consistent manner for all tropical cyclones to inspect the relationship of eyewall flashes to the changes of structure and intensity. Eyewall flash outbreaks were found during the period of intensity change (15% of outbreaks in intensification and 43% in weaken), and the period of maximum intensity (15% of outbreaks) of storms. A new result of this analysis found that 10% of the outbreaks occurred prior to and during periods of storm turning, which is potentially important for the trajectory change forecasting of tropical cyclones.

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Ruiyang Ma, Dong Zheng, Yijun Zhang, Wen Yao, Wenjuan Zhang, and Deqing Cuomu


Herein, we compared data on the spatiotemporal distribution of lightning activity obtained from the World Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN) with that from the Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS). The WWLLN and LIS both suggest intense lightning activity over the central and southeastern Tibetan Plateau (TP) during May–September. Meanwhile, the WWLLN indicates relatively weak lightning activity over the northeastern TP, where the LIS suggests very intense lightning activity, and it also indicates a high-density lightning center over the southwestern TP, not suggested by the LIS. Furthermore, the WWLLN lightning peaks in August in terms of monthly variation and in late August in terms of ten-day variation, unlike the corresponding LIS lightning peaks of July and late June, respectively. Other observation data were also introduced into the comparison. The black body temperature (TBB) data from the Fengyun-2E geostationary satellite (as a proxy of deep convection) and thunderstorm day data support the spatial distribution of the WWLLN lightning more. Meanwhile, for seasonal variation, the TBB data is more analogous to the LIS data, while the cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning data from a local CG lightning location system is closer to the WWLLN data. It is speculated that the different WWLLN and LIS observation modes may cause their data to represent different dominant types of lightning, thereby leading to differences in the spatiotemporal distributions of their data. The results may further imply that there exist regional differences and seasonal variations in the electrical properties of thunderstorms over the TP.

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Penglei Fan, Dong Zheng, Yijun Zhang, Shanqiang Gu, Wenjuan Zhang, Wen Yao, Biwu Yan, and Yongbin Xu


A systematic evaluation of the performance of the World Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN) over the Tibetan Plateau is conducted using data from the Cloud-to-Ground Lightning Location System (CGLLS) developed by the State Grid Corporation of China for 2013–15 and lightning data from the satellite-based Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS) for 2014–15. The average spatial location separation magnitudes in the midsouthern Tibetan Plateau (MSTP) region between matched WWLLN and CGLLS strokes and over the whole Tibetan Plateau between matched WWLLN and LIS flashes were 9.97 and 10.93 km, respectively. The detection efficiency (DE) of the WWLLN rose markedly with increasing stroke peak current, and the mean stroke peak currents of positive and negative cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning detected by the WWLLN in the MSTP region were 62.43 and −56.74 kA, respectively. The duration, area, and radiance of the LIS flashes that were also detected by the WWLLN were 1.27, 2.65, and 4.38 times those not detected by the WWLLN. The DE of the WWLLN in the MSTP region was 9.37% for CG lightning and 2.58% for total lightning. Over the Tibetan Plateau, the DE of the WWLLN for total lightning was 2.03%. In the MSTP region, the CG flash data made up 71.98% of all WWLLN flash data. Based on the abovementioned results, the ratio of intracloud (IC) lightning to CG lightning in the MSTP region was estimated to be 4.05.

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