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Observations of Optical Lightning Emissions from above Thunderstorms Using U-2 Aircraft

H. J. Christian
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R. L. Frost
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P. H. Gillaspy
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S. J. Goodman
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O. H. Vaughan Jr.
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M. Brook
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B. Vonnegut
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R. E. Orville
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In order to determine how to achieve orders of magnitude improvement in spatial and temporal resolution and in sensitivity of satellite lightning sensors, better quantitative measurements of the characteristics of the optical emissions from lightning as observed from above tops of thunderclouds are required. A number of sensors have been developed and integrated into an instrument package and flown aboard a NASA U-2 aircraft. The objectives have been to acquire optical lightning data needed for designing the lightning mapper sensor, and to study lightning physics and the correlation of lightning activity with storm characteristics. The instrumentation and observations of the program are reviewed and their significance for future research is discussed.

1 George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, Ala. 35812.

2 New Mexico Tech, Socorro, N. Mex. 87801.

3 State University of New York at Albany, Albany, N.Y. 12222.

In order to determine how to achieve orders of magnitude improvement in spatial and temporal resolution and in sensitivity of satellite lightning sensors, better quantitative measurements of the characteristics of the optical emissions from lightning as observed from above tops of thunderclouds are required. A number of sensors have been developed and integrated into an instrument package and flown aboard a NASA U-2 aircraft. The objectives have been to acquire optical lightning data needed for designing the lightning mapper sensor, and to study lightning physics and the correlation of lightning activity with storm characteristics. The instrumentation and observations of the program are reviewed and their significance for future research is discussed.

1 George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, Ala. 35812.

2 New Mexico Tech, Socorro, N. Mex. 87801.

3 State University of New York at Albany, Albany, N.Y. 12222.

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