Modeling Global Lightning Distributions in a General Circulation Model

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  • 1 NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University, New York, New York
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Abstract

A general circulation model (GCM) is used to model global lightning distributions and frequencies. Both total and cloud-to-ground lightning frequencies are modeled using parameterizations that relate the depth of convective clouds to lightning frequencies. The model's simulations of lightning distributions in time and space show good agreement with available observations. The model's annual mean climatology shows a global lightning frequency of 77 flashes per second, with cloud-to-ground lightning making up 25% of the total. The maximum lightning activity in the GCM occurs during the Northern Hemisphere summer, with approximately 91% of all lightning occurring over continental and coastal regions.

Abstract

A general circulation model (GCM) is used to model global lightning distributions and frequencies. Both total and cloud-to-ground lightning frequencies are modeled using parameterizations that relate the depth of convective clouds to lightning frequencies. The model's simulations of lightning distributions in time and space show good agreement with available observations. The model's annual mean climatology shows a global lightning frequency of 77 flashes per second, with cloud-to-ground lightning making up 25% of the total. The maximum lightning activity in the GCM occurs during the Northern Hemisphere summer, with approximately 91% of all lightning occurring over continental and coastal regions.

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