Total Lightning Signatures of Thunderstorm Intensity over North Texas. Part II: Mesoscale Convective Systems

Scott M. Steiger Department of Earth Sciences, State University of New York at Oswego, Oswego, New York

Search for other papers by Scott M. Steiger in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Richard E. Orville Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

Search for other papers by Richard E. Orville in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
, and
Lawrence D. Carey Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

Search for other papers by Lawrence D. Carey in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Full access

Abstract

Total lightning data from the Lightning Detection and Ranging (LDAR II) research network in addition to cloud-to-ground flash data from the National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN) and data from the Dallas–Fort Worth, Texas, Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) station (KFWS) were examined from individual cells within mesoscale convective systems that crossed the Dallas–Fort Worth region on 13 October 2001, 27 May 2002, and 16 June 2002. LDAR II source density contours were comma shaped, in association with severe wind events within mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) on 13 October 2001 and 27 May 2002. This signature is similar to the radar reflectivity bow echo. The source density comma shape was apparent 15 min prior to a severe wind report and lasted more than 20 min during the 13 October storm. Consistent relationships between severe straight-line winds, radar, and lightning storm cell characteristics (e.g., lightning heights) were not found for cells within MCSs as was the case for severe weather in supercells in Part I of this study. Cell interactions within MCSs are believed to weaken these relationships as reflectivity and lightning from nearby storms contaminate the cells of interest. Another hypothesis for these weak relations is that system, not individual cell, processes are responsible for severe straight-line winds at the surface. Analysis of the total lightning structure of the 13 October 2001 MCS showed downward-sloping source density contours behind the main convective line into the stratiform region. This further supports a charge advection mechanism in developing the stratiform charge structure. Bimodal vertical source density distributions were observed within MCS convection close to the center of the LDAR II network, while the lower mode was not detected at increasing range.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Scott M. Steiger, Dept. of Earth Sciences, State University of New York at Oswego, Oswego, NY 13126. Email: steiger@oswego.edu

Abstract

Total lightning data from the Lightning Detection and Ranging (LDAR II) research network in addition to cloud-to-ground flash data from the National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN) and data from the Dallas–Fort Worth, Texas, Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) station (KFWS) were examined from individual cells within mesoscale convective systems that crossed the Dallas–Fort Worth region on 13 October 2001, 27 May 2002, and 16 June 2002. LDAR II source density contours were comma shaped, in association with severe wind events within mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) on 13 October 2001 and 27 May 2002. This signature is similar to the radar reflectivity bow echo. The source density comma shape was apparent 15 min prior to a severe wind report and lasted more than 20 min during the 13 October storm. Consistent relationships between severe straight-line winds, radar, and lightning storm cell characteristics (e.g., lightning heights) were not found for cells within MCSs as was the case for severe weather in supercells in Part I of this study. Cell interactions within MCSs are believed to weaken these relationships as reflectivity and lightning from nearby storms contaminate the cells of interest. Another hypothesis for these weak relations is that system, not individual cell, processes are responsible for severe straight-line winds at the surface. Analysis of the total lightning structure of the 13 October 2001 MCS showed downward-sloping source density contours behind the main convective line into the stratiform region. This further supports a charge advection mechanism in developing the stratiform charge structure. Bimodal vertical source density distributions were observed within MCS convection close to the center of the LDAR II network, while the lower mode was not detected at increasing range.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Scott M. Steiger, Dept. of Earth Sciences, State University of New York at Oswego, Oswego, NY 13126. Email: steiger@oswego.edu

1. Introduction

A mesoscale convective system (MCS) is “a group of storms that interacts with and modifies the environment and subsequent storm evolution in such a way that it produces a long-lived storm system having dimensions much larger than individual storms” (MacGorman and Rust 1998, p. 258). Houze et al. (1990) give a thorough description of the three classic MCS reflectivity structures: 1) leading line of deep convection with symmetrically placed trailing stratiform, 2) leading line of deep convection with asymmetrically placed trailing stratiform (usually displaced to the north in the Northern Hemisphere), and 3) chaotic, unclassifiable mass of convective and stratiform rain. Certain identifiable lightning patterns have been associated with these MCS types as different dynamics operate in the stratiform and convective regions. Severe weather (large hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes) occasionally accompanies these systems, mainly in the leading convective line. Lightning has been shown to be a useful indicator of imminent severe weather in supercellular convection (Steiger et al. 2007, hereafter Part I), and it is a major purpose of this study to show lightning’s utility in diagnosing and predicting intense thunderstorm cells within MCSs.

Schuur et al. (1991) and Stolzenburg et al. (1994, 1998 document the electrical charge structure of MCSs, within both the convective and stratiform regions [see Fig. 9 in Stolzenburg et al. (1998) for a conceptual model based on their observations]. They propose that two processes are responsible for the charge structure in the stratiform region: growth of mixed-phase precipitation particles and subsequent local charging in the stratiform region (in situ), and advection of charged particles from the convective portion of the system into the stratiform region (Rutledge and MacGorman 1988).

The convective portion of an MCS analyzed by Carey et al. (2005) exhibits a bimodal height distribution of lightning activity with source peaks at 4.5 km (3°C) and 9.5 km MSL (−35°C) while the stratiform region has three peaks at 4.5, 6, and 9 km MSL. These peaks are thought to be regions of positive charge as the total lightning instrument used by Carey et al. [the Lightning Detection and Ranging (LDAR II) research network; same as the one used here] detects more radiation from lightning propagating through positive than negative space charge (Rison et al. 1999). The more complex charge structure inside the stratiform region agrees with the results from Stolzenburg et al. (1994, 1998). Radar reflectivity and lightning source density contours slant downward behind the convective line into the stratiform region (Carey et al. 2005). The excellent agreement between snow trajectories and the slanted path of VHF sources into the stratiform region strongly supports the charge advection mechanism thought to be partly responsible for charging the stratiform regions of MCSs. Carey et al. (2005) caution, however, that in situ charging cannot be disregarded, as charge advection does not explain the entire charge structure of the stratiform region in the MCS they analyzed.

As a new cell in an MCS grows and its reflectivity increases, the flash density maximum moves toward the rear of the cell, eventually merging with lightning in older cells. McCormick (2003) show a greater number of LDAR II flash origins along the back edge of the convective region of a squall line, in the leading edge of the stratiform region, and in the enhanced reflectivity “bridge” in the transition zone that connects the convective and stratiform regions. There are relatively few LDAR II flashes associated with the leading edge of the convective line and in the stratiform region. LDAR II flashes begin in regions of moderate reflectivity (<45 dBZ) above convective cores at altitudes mostly >5 km MSL, and LDAR II sources are at higher altitudes above enhanced reflectivity aloft (indicative of a strong updraft). LDAR II source density maxima in the convective line of the MCS discussed in Carey et al. (2005) are well correlated with reflectivity enhancements. These data can also help resolve the issue of where flashes in the stratiform region are initiated and how they propagate (e.g., Lang et al. 2004). The relationship between reflectivity and lightning will be examined and compared to these previous results.

In MCSs, peak ground flash rates tend to occur later than reports of severe weather (Goodman and MacGorman 1986). Cloud-to-ground (CG) flash rates lag echo volume aloft, which is related to updraft strength in ordinary cells according to Carey and Rutledge (1996), and total flash activity in MCSs by 30 min (McCormick 2003). A bipole pattern, the spatial separation between regions of concentrated positive and negative ground flashes, has been noticed in some MCS cases (Orville et al. 1988). Negative ground flashes in MCSs are usually associated with the convective region while the positive ground flashes concentrate in the stratiform region (Rutledge and MacGorman 1988). The average peak +CG current in the stratiform region (43 kA) is greater than double the mean peak positive current in the convective region (20 kA) of an MCS studied by McCormick (2003). [Petersen and Rutledge (1992) and MacGorman and Morgenstern (1998) show similar results, but there were some exceptions.] The charge regions are more expansive in the stratiform region and may provide more charge to a CG flash to produce a larger current (Petersen and Rutledge 1992). Sometimes, the convective cells are dominated by positive CG flashes. Typically, the storm that is dominated by +CGs occurs early in the lifetime of the MCS, and is on the southern end of the convective region, where most severe weather is reported (MacGorman and Rust 1998, p. 278).

In contrast to the CG flash rates discussed above, total lightning flashes have shown a better correlation with storm updraft strength (Williams et al. 1999). Rapid increases in total lightning rates, or “lightning jumps,” can aid in the prediction of severe weather (i.e., large hail, severe straight-line winds, and tornadoes) as they gave 1–15 min of lead time for the storms analyzed in Williams et al. (1999).

Mazur and Rust (1983) show that in one storm the number of cloud flashes was 40 times the ground flash count. In contrast to this observation and expectations from the MacGorman et al. (1989) elevated charge region hypothesis, McCormick (2003) shows intracloud to cloud-to-ground (IC:CG) flash ratios were at relative minimum values (near 12.7) when cells in the 13 October 2001 MCS were most intense. This suggests the storm conditions controlling IC and CG flash rates are more complicated than in the elevated charge hypothesis. Indeed, Mansell et al. (2002) show CG flashes require the development of a lower charge region (near cloud base) of opposite sign to the midlevel charge region to initiate. Another MCS analyzed by McCormick (2003) had a mean IC:CG ratio of 7 and its stratiform region had greater IC:CG ratios than the convective region.

Unlike many of the aforementioned studies, this study mostly shows individual storm cell analysis (radar reflectivity and total lightning) of three mesoscale convective systems (13 October 2001, 27 May 2002, and 16 June 2002) using methods similar to those in Part I. The life cycle of MCS storm cells is examined. The radar and lightning cell characteristics are related to storm intensity and severe straight-line wind occurrence. Certain identifiable patterns in the total (IC + CG) lightning behavior are shown that can be used to infer storm dynamics (e.g., a lightning bow). A comparison between the lightning and reflectivity structures of the convective and stratiform regions of an MCS is shown to observe how the dynamics, microphysics, and electrification differ between these two portions of these systems.

2. Data and methodology

Three datasets were used in this study: Dallas–Fort Worth Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) station (KFWS) data, National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN) CG lightning data, and LDAR II total lightning data. Analysis was focused on individual convective storm cells within MCSs. Severe storm reports were obtained from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC; 2001, 2002a, b). The total MCS structure was also examined to compare results with previous studies (e.g., Carey et al. 2005). Partitioning convective and stratiform MCS regions was done subjectively by examining the horizontal and vertical radar structures of an MCS. Convective regions were defined as having large values of mean reflectivity (>40 dBZ) and reflectivity gradient, and having reflectivity contours that had a significant bulge upward (large slope ∼0.3; see Fig. 13). Figure 1 from Leary and Houze (1979) shows larger values and greater vertical extent of reflectivity in the convective region of an MCS.

The CG and total (IC and CG) lightning data were from the NLDN and the LDAR II network, respectively, and were obtained from Vaisala, Inc., of Tucson, Arizona. Both of these networks are described in more detail in Part I. The following CG lightning characteristics were analyzed from these data: negative and positive flash density, percent positive flashes, median peak current for both polarity flashes, and mean multiplicity for each polarity. To decrease the possible intracloud lightning contamination, flashes with positive peak currents less than 10 kA were removed from the NLDN dataset (Cummins et al. 1998). The LDAR II source density (number of sources per unit area per unit time interval) was analyzed in horizontal and vertical projections as described in Part I of this study. The adapted National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) flash grouping algorithm (Part I) organized sources into flashes. The total lightning characteristics calculated for each storm cell using LDAR II data within 5, 10, and 20 km of the radar-indicated cell location included the following: the lower quartile, median, 95th percentile (defined as the lightning-based storm top), and modal heights of LDAR II sources; the total number of sources within the cylindrical volume; the number of flashes from sources (total flash rate); and the IC:CG ratio.

The radar data to be used in this study were from the KFWS radar, obtained from NCDC. As in Part I, the Warning Decision Support System-Integrated Information (WDSS-II) software (Hondl 2003) was used to determine cell location and characteristics. The radar top (maximum height of the 30-dBZ contour), severe hail index (SHI), and vertically integrated liquid water (VIL) were used to diagnose storm intensity and were compared with the CG and total lightning characteristics. The radar data were converted to a Cartesian grid for contouring reflectivity and overlaying lightning data.

Four-dimensional and time–height representations (Figs. 1 and 4) of the radar reflectivity and lightning data for individual storm cells within MCSs were produced. Part I of this study details the procedures for creating these plots. For the next section, the storm cell most closely associated (in time and space) with a severe wind report was chosen. The selected cell was tracked by using WDSS-II for its lifetime before and after the report. The cell lifetimes shown in later figures (Figs. 4 –5, 8 –9, 11 and 12) were determined from when the storm cell identification and tracking (SCIT) algorithm first identified the cell of interest (first assigned a cell identification number) to when the cell was no longer identified by that particular identification number. This does not necessarily coincide with the cell dissipating completely; this is one of the errors in using the SCIT algorithm. Also, cell lifetimes were sometimes prematurely ended in the analysis because the cell’s location exited the analysis domain (30–100-km range from the radar; see Part I, section 2). This occurred for the 27 May 2002 case. Unlike the majority of the supercells analyzed in Part I, the MCS cells were not well isolated. Hence, it was more likely that radar and lightning data from other cells infiltrated the analysis radius surrounding the cell of interest. When this contamination appeared significant, the cell lightning characteristics were calculated using data within smaller radii (10 km) of the WDSS-II cell location.

3. Lightning and radar reflectivity signatures associated with MCS high wind events

a. 13 October 2001

Figure 1 shows the mean reflectivity and total lightning structure of a storm cell that was part of a leading-line, trailing stratiform (LLTS) MCS 14 min prior to a high wind report (26.8 m s−1) associated with this cell. The storm was at the northern end of an asymmetric system (Houze et al. 1990). A total of 41 563 LDAR II sources composed 540 flashes in this plot, an average of 77 sources per flash. All vertical projections show that the source density was concentrated in three levels: 4 km (above the melting level), 9 km, and 11 km MSL (T < −40°C). Distinct multimodal vertical distributions of source density were observed when cells in this study were within 50 km of the LDAR II network center (this cell was 20 km from the network); beyond this distance, distributions were unimodal. The LDAR II may have difficulty detecting the lower part of multimodal distributions beyond 50 km. [Steiger (2005) shows weaker source powers were associated with the lower peak.] The enhanced source density values observed near 10 km MSL (−40°C) between x = 6 and 24 km in the x-height projection mapped the anvil region of the storm. As in Part I, the source density maxima in the vertical projections were above near where the reflectivity contours extended upward (at x, y location 33, 57 km; note arrow denoting the reflectivity bulge) indicative of where the main storm updraft was located (they are not as well collocated in the height-y projection, Fig. 1e). Figure 2d confirms this, as the source density maximum in the plan view (located near the cell center) was within the 40-dBZ echo height gradient near the echo height maximum.

The reflectivity and lightning structure observed with this storm in the horizontal projection was comma shaped. This radar reflectivity pattern is associated with strong downdraft winds (Przybylinski 1995). The cell center location (indicated with an asterisk in Fig. 1d) was within the comma head. Enhanced lightning activity (>70 sources km−2) was collocated with areas of large mean reflectivity (>40 dBZ), unlike with the supercells in Part I. Doppler radial wind velocity values (not shown) were strong outbound 5–10 km south-southeast of the comma head [approximately 30 m s−1 (storm-relative radial velocity = 14 m s−1) at the lowest tilt]. The precipitation was moving outbound at all vertical levels sampled by the radar at this location. (The cell was located 64 km to the northeast of the KFWS radar at this time.) The storm-relative radial velocity in the northern portion of the comma head at the lowest tilt was inbound at −4 m s−1. This radial velocity pattern partially explains the comma shape to the reflectivity and the total lightning storm structure observed in Fig. 1d.

The wind report associated with this storm cell occurred at 0214 UTC. According to Fig. 3, the wind report’s time and/or location was inaccurate as it was nearly 15 km to the west of the apex in the reflectivity and lightning comma-shaped structures [near the apex is where the strongest surface winds are expected in these storms (Przybylinski 1995)]. A multimodal source density distribution continued to be observed in this storm, with peaks at 4 and 12 km MSL (near 0° and below −40°C). Some 42 073 sources composed 392 flashes, an average of 107 sources per flash. As with Fig. 1, there were three maxima in flash origins at heights of 4, 9, and 12 km MSL. There were two locations in the x-height projection where the reflectivity contours extended upward (at x = 42 and 53 km associated with the main cell and new cells developing to the southeast of it, respectively). The two horizontal layers of maximum source density were connected by vertical segments of enhanced source density at these locations. There was a large region of relatively weak electrical activity extending behind this storm to the west.

The time–height history of the reflectivity and total lightning structure of this storm is shown in Fig. 4. Only data within 10 km of the cell were selected, to reduce contamination from nearby cells. Most of the cell’s reflectivity contours had their highest extent at 0202 UTC. The 30-dBZ contour was at 14 km MSL at this time. Before this time period, the maximum source density was bimodal with values greater than 1600 and 3200 sources km−1 (5 min)−1 centered near 5 and 12 km MSL (near −10° and below −40°C), respectively. The upper lightning layer was thicker [cf. the vertical distances between the 1600 sources km−1 (5 min)−1 contours in each layer] than the lower one. After 0202 UTC, there was only one distinct maximum in source density located at 12 km [1600 sources km−1 (5 min)−1] and a weak signature of a lower mode at 5 km MSL [800 sources km−1 (5 min)−1]. The altitudes of both of these lightning layers remained nearly constant throughout the lifetime of this cell (1 h). The wind report occurred while the altitudes of the upper reflectivity contours were in descent. The severe wind occurred while the reflectivity data show the storm was at maximum intensity or while it was weakening. It is difficult to diagnose this with better accuracy due to the possible timing error in the wind report discussed above.

Lightning heights [95th percentile (lightning top), median, lower quartile, and modal source heights] are shown to be useful indicators of supercell updraft strength in Part I. Figure 5 shows little variation in the lightning top throughout the 13 October 2001 MCS cell’s lifetime. The lower-quartile source altitude, however, increased from near 5 to 8 km MSL after the wind report. It is interesting to note the upper reflectivity contours (e.g., 30 dBZ) in Fig. 4 and the lightning top did not have the same trends after 0202 UTC; the reflectivity contours descended while the lightning top was steady near 13.5 km MSL. Total flash rates (Fig. 5, bottom) had relative maxima at 0137, 0152, and 0212 UTC, but showed a general decrease prior to and during the wind report. The last relative maximum flash rate of 170 flashes (5 min)−1 occurred 2 min before the report. A relative minimum in the IC:CG ratio occurred before the report at 0207 UTC.

A peak in negative CG flash rate occurred approximately 7 min before the 13 October 2001 wind report (Fig. 5). Figure 6 shows −CG flash densities were greater than 0.22 flashes km−2 near the center of the storm (at 37, 58 km) during the time of peak −CG activity. This area of large −CG flash density coincided with an area of large source density values (>84 sources km−2). The −CG maximum also was located where the vertical projections indicate a bimodal vertical distribution of sources (centered at 40, 60 km).

b. 27 May 2002

The convection on 27 May 2002 was an unorganized mass of thunderstorms with stratiform rain and some significant breaks in precipitation. One of these storms produced a severe wind report of 26.4 m s−1 between 2014 and 2026 UTC. Figure 7 shows the reflectivity and total lightning structure for a volume scan during this period. As with the 13 October 2001 wind event, the LDAR II source density had a bow-shaped appearance in the plan view. A large area of mean reflectivity values greater than 55 dBZ in a south–north orientation was 5 km to the west of the enhanced lightning activity, possibly due to the tilt of the cell (see reflectivity distribution in the west–east vertical projection). There were two weak echo notches on the backside of this storm (which propagated eastward) at positions y = −24 and −15 km, but the overall reflectivity pattern was straight (no bow echo). The high wind report was adjacent to the northern weak echo notch.

Even though the histogram in Fig. 7 indicates two levels of maximum lightning activity at 10 and 12 km MSL (below −40°C), the central area of the storm cell exhibited a unimodal source density distribution in the vertical projections (as expected since it was 86 km from the LDAR II network). The maximum number of flash origins was at 9 km MSL (near −40°C), below the source maximum. There were 2910 total sources and 228 flashes included in this plot. This resulted in an average of 13 sources per flash, significantly less than the average number of sources per flash for the 13 October 2001 cells (Figs. 1 and 3). This result was most likely due to the 27 May 2002 storm’s distance from the LDAR II network center, being more than double what it was for the storms shown in Figs. 1 and 3. [Carey et al. (2005) discuss how source detection efficiency rapidly decreases with distance decreasing the number of sources per flash.] The radar data indicated the 27 May 2002 storm to be more intense than the 13 October 2001 cells; maximum contoured reflectivity values were greater than 55 dBZ in Fig. 7, while in Figs. 1 and 3 these values were between 45 and 50 dBZ.

A bow echo in the horizontal reflectivity structure of the storm developed approximately 10 min after the wind report shown in Fig. 7. The total lightning pattern continued to have a bow shape, but it was asymmetrical with maximum source densities within the reflectivity gradient on the northern end (not shown). The significant tilting of the main reflectivity core eastward with height in the x-height projection in Fig. 7b was a persistent feature during this storm’s lifetime. Maximum lightning activity topped the reflectivity core observed in the west–east vertical projection in Fig. 7b. Note how the source density maximum increased in altitude in the height-y projection approaching y = −20 km (the location of the reflectivity core) from the north in Fig. 7e. As in Part I, the lightning layer was elevated in the vicinity of the main storm updraft, where the reflectivity contours bulged upward. The thickness of the layer decreased as the distance from the storm center increased as well. The regions of relatively thin lightning activity in the vertical projections likely show where the storm anvil was located.

The 27 May 2002 storm intensified before and during the time it produced severe surface winds. Low-level mean reflectivity values increased from 50 to greater than 55 dBZ at 1941 UTC (Fig. 8). Maximum reflectivity values between 50–55 dBZ extended to the ground and values greater than 55 dBZ were present near 5 km MSL during the high wind report. The upper reflectivity contours also increased in altitude preceding and during the severe straight-line wind report. The 30-dBZ contour increased from 7 km at 1921 UTC to over 12 km MSL at 2035 UTC; most of this increase was attained 30 min before the event. Total lightning activity was unimodal, centered near 10 km MSL (−40°C) throughout the period. Maximum source densities [>400 sources km−1 (5 min)−1] at this altitude occurred during the middle of the report (at 2021 UTC) and were sustained for approximately 15 min after the event. Before 1936 UTC there were no sources detected in this storm below 5 km MSL (near −5°C), while after this time there was some lightning detected below this level [the minimum contour interval is 1 source km−1 (5 min)−1]. This occurred just before the development of areas of reflectivity greater than 55 dBZ between 2 and 5 km MSL and descent of 50–55 dBZ to the ground. The storm was also propagating closer to the LDAR II network center during its lifetime (between 118- and 76-km range), and this may have resulted in the detection of more low-level sources.

Total lightning and −CG flash rates increased to maximum values of 170 and 50 flashes (5 min)−1, respectively, during the 27 May high wind report (Fig. 9, bottom). Negative CG rates significantly increased about 10 min after the development of the low-level maximum reflectivity at 1941 UTC shown in Fig. 8. The total flash rate reached a relative maximum value of greater than 130 flashes (5 min)−1 at 2001 UTC, coincident with the first significant −CG flash rate relative maximum. Total and −CG flash rates both decreased to relative minimum values at 2006 UTC (approximately 8 min prior to the wind event) before achieving absolute maximum values during the wind report. This minimum in lightning activity was partly due to a shift in the areas of large lightning density (LDAR II source and −CG flash) farther away from the radar-indicated cell location (not shown). The IC:CG ratio for the cell had relative maxima at 1951 and 2035 UTC and was nearly an absolute minimum during the wind event. The large −CG flash rates during the wind report contributed to the low IC:CG ratios (<5) at this time. Positive CG flash rate and percent positive values were small throughout this storm’s lifetime.

Figure 9 (top) shows the evolution of the LDAR II source heights for the 27 May 2002 MCS cell. The lightning top was near 11 km MSL (below −40°C) at 1916 UTC and then quickly rose to over 13 km during the next volume scan. It then decreased to 12 km by 1946 UTC, before reaching a maximum altitude near 14 km MSL at 2001 UTC, 13 min before the high wind report. The lightning top remained elevated during the first half of the wind report, and then decreased to near 12 km MSL after the report. The other lightning heights, which were lower in elevation and are likely related to the updraft strength at lower levels in the storm, followed a similar pattern, except they did not ascend at the initial stage of the storm. They decreased steadily until 1946 UTC and then ascended until peaking at 2006 UTC (8 min before the wind report). These trends did not have changes as drastic as those found with some supercells (e.g., Part I, Fig. 7).

c. 16 June 2002

The 16 June 2002 MCS was a well-developed LLTS squall line, and the system’s radar and total lightning characteristics are discussed by Carey et al. (2005). The cell analyzed in Fig. 10 was at the southern end of this system. The system was reported to have produced severe straight-line winds of 27.7 m s−1 during the time shown. The cell was part of a convective region that extended in a southwest–northeast orientation.

LDAR II source density values were significantly less than those associated with the other cells examined in this study, partially due to this storm’s distance of 108 km west-southwest from the LDAR II network center. Larger source density values (near 14 sources km−2) were located at the northeastern section of the plot; these storms had similar mean reflectivity values as the cell being examined, but were closer to the LDAR II network centered at (25, 35 km). Enhanced source densities (4–6 sources km−2) were also associated with the northeastern quadrant (at −75, 20 km) of the analyzed storm. The reflectivity field in the plan view shows a significant weak echo notch (WEN in Fig. 10) less than 5 km to the northwest of the cell location shown by the asterisk. The wind report is located 14 km to the north-northeast from this feature in an area of weaker mean reflectivity (30 dBZ), also near another notch that almost extends through the line, suggesting the wind event may have occurred earlier than the report.

As in previous cases, the maximum source density was above where the reflectivity contours extended upward at x = −74 and −55 km in the x-height projection. However, the reflectivity bulge at y = 5 km had smaller source densities associated with it. There were 13 sources per flash (2475 sources and 186 flashes). Both source density and the number of flash origins peaked at 10 km MSL (near −40°C).

The vertical extent of the mean reflectivity was greatest near the time of the wind report, and showed a general downward trend throughout the period (Fig. 11). The trend in the altitude of the source density contours [e.g., 50 sources km−1 (5 min)−1] was similar. Note the area of 1–50 sources km−1 (5 min)−1 near 3.5 km MSL at 0503 UTC that coincided with an area of enhanced mean reflectivity (>50 dBZ).

The wind report occurred while the total flash rate was increasing and near a minimum in −CG flash rate [15 flashes (5 min)−1; Fig. 12 bottom]. The −CG flash rate reached an absolute maximum at 0448 UTC, approximately 7 min (over one volume scan) prior to the wind report. The −CG flash rate had a steady decline later in the storm’s lifetime (between 0518 and 0557 UTC). The total flash rate had two maxima, 55 and 25 flashes (5 min)−1, at 0458 and 0538 UTC, respectively. These peaks had no predictive value of the severe straight-line wind as they occurred after the report. Notice how the IC:CG ratios are very low (<3) throughout the period. The number of −CG flashes outnumbered the total flashes between 0443 and 0453 as well as 0513 and 0528 UTC, resulting in IC:CG ratios <0; this was the result of the storm being greater than 100 km from the LDAR II network. The number of sources and total flashes determined from the source data were not representative of the storm’s lightning production as source detection efficiency is very small at this range [Carey et al. (2005, see their appendix C) show relative detection efficiencies <5% beyond 100-km range from the Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport (DFW) LDAR II network]. The total flash rate trends are also suspect as the storm was just coming into the range of the network and the initial large increase in total flash rate may be an artifact of this. Positive CG lightning production was insignificant as +CG flash rates and percent positive values were less than 3 flashes (5 min)−1 and 8%, respectively.

The lightning-based storm top was at a relative minimum near 13 km MSL (below −40°C) during the high wind report (Fig. 12, top). The lower-quartile and median heights were also at relative minima near this time. After relative maxima in the heights at 0503 UTC, these values generally decreased until the end of the storm. The lightning top had variations of only 2 km during the cell’s lifetime. The minima in all of the lightning heights during the wind report and toward the later stages of the storm imply a weaker storm during those time intervals; −CG flash rate trends (Fig. 12 bottom) agree with this interpretation. The trend in the cell’s radar top (not shown) was similar to the lightning top. It had a minimum value (7 km MSL) at 0458 UTC near the time of the wind report. The radar top reached a relative maximum altitude at the same time as the lightning top shown in Fig. 12 (0503 UTC).

4. Lightning and radar reflectivity structures in convective and stratiform MCS regions

Convective and stratiform areas of an MCS are diagnosed subjectively in this section; convective regions are defined as having large values of mean reflectivity (>40 dBZ) and reflectivity gradient and having reflectivity contours that extend upward in the vertical projections. Enhanced LDAR II source densities were collocated with maxima in mean reflectivity within the 13 October 2001 mesoscale convective system (Fig. 13). The source density maxima identified intense storm cells (convection). The most intense cells were oriented in a south–north line along x = 40 km (see plan view and x-height projection). Reflectivity contours had a distinct upward protrusion at this position, and large source density values through most of the depth of the storm were associated with this feature in a vertical bimodal distribution. The source density contours attained higher altitudes at this position, and then extended downward to the west (rear) of the main line of thunderstorms into the stratiform region of the MCS. This corresponds very well with the lightning pattern in the line-normal vertical cross section of an LLTS squall line shown by Carey et al. (2005; see their Fig. 3). Another bulge upward in the reflectivity contours occurred near x = 5 km in the west–east vertical projection. This was associated with a strong cell located at (5, −40 km) in the southern portion of the MCS. The southern and northern portions of the MCS were more complex than in the central portion; to the north were remnants of the supercellular convection that produced a tornado over an hour before the time shown, while to the south two cells with mean reflectivity values in the plan view >40 dBZ were oriented in a west–east direction. The anvil extended 40 km behind the southern part of the system in the x-height projection and had minimal source density values west of the x = −10 km position.

There were two peaks of source density at 4 and 10 km MSL in Fig. 13 (near 0° and −40°C). Three peaks of flash origins occurred at 4, 8, and 11 km MSL. The two upper origin peaks were adjacent to the main source peak (above and below) and likely corresponded to regions of IC flash initiation while the origin peak at 4 km MSL was most likely associated with CG lightning production. Proctor (1991) shows the modal CG flash origin height near 4 km. More than 113 000 LDAR II sources and 1352 flashes composed this system, an average of 84 sources per flash while it was near the center of the LDAR II network.

Total lightning activity extended ahead (to the east) of the system according to the x-height and plan view panels in Fig. 13. Weak lightning activity (1–6 sources km−2) was approximately 20 km east of the main convective line between y = 0 and 50 km in areas of mean reflectivity between 10 and 20 dBZ (plan view). This feature was present in several of the analyzed volume scans during the lifetime of this system. Weak lightning activity also expanded westward into the stratiform region (mean reflectivity values 10–25 dBZ) after the convective cells had developed. The plan view in Fig. 13 is approximately centered on the LDAR II network at (25, 35 km). The cells farther from the center of the network to the north and south were of similar strength according to the projections of the mean reflectivity (values and vertical extent), but had significantly different total lightning distributions, especially in the vertical projections. The source density distributions became unimodal as the distance from the network increased, while the closer cells had a distinct bimodal appearance. Also, the altitudes of the lower-level source density contours systematically increased with distance from the center of the plot, especially in the south–north vertical projection. There was less low-level lightning activity detected at these greater ranges and was the result of the LDAR II system’s inability to detect VHF sources below its horizon.

Negative CG flashes were collocated with areas of convection as well (Fig. 14). Negative CG lightning activity was nearly nonexistent in the stratiform region of the MCS. Figures 13 and 14 show that the source density maxima were better collocated with large reflectivity values than was the −CG flash density, partially because higher spatial resolution (1 versus 5 km for CG density) was used to plot the source density values. The reflectivity “bridge” (discussed by McCormick (2003); it is a band of enhanced reflectivity values connecting the convective and stratiform rain regions) is observed extending to the west-northwest from the convective line at y = 35 km. Enhanced source densities were associated with this feature (Fig. 13), but CG activity did not occur within the reflectivity bridge during this time period. The reflectivity bridge became wider at 0304 UTC, and two +CG flashes were produced within this region (not shown). The +CG flash density was also closely associated with portions of the convective region of the MCS (Fig. 15). Positive CG flash density values exceeded 0.14 flashes km−2 within the intense storm cell at (45, 90 km). This cell’s maximum mean reflectivity in the plan view was greater than 50 dBZ, and its large vertical development (the 35-dBZ contour was above 13 km MSL in both vertical projections) indicated this was an intense storm. Surprisingly, there were no severe storm reports associated with this intense storm near this time. Unlike the source density in Fig. 13, ±CG activity was nonexistent behind (west) and ahead (east) of the convection. The aforementioned MCS total and CG lightning patterns persisted while the system was within 100-km range of the LDAR II network.

The lightning top, median, and modal source heights had little variation throughout the 13 October 2001 MCS lifetime (Fig. 16 top). The 95th percentile source height was between 13 and 14 km MSL (temperatures below −40°C). The variations in lightning top were significantly less than those shown for the 27 May 2002 storm (Fig. 9) and the supercells discussed in Part I. The only lightning height that changed significantly during the 2.5-h period shown was the lower-quartile height. It was near 9 km at 0122 UTC, then decreased to 6.5 km MSL at 0152 UTC. The lower-quartile height returned to near 9 km MSL by 0302 UTC and remained near this altitude until the end of the period. The lower-quartile height minimum occurred during the same time period when there was a significant lower region of large source density values (e.g., Fig. 13) and a strong bimodal height distribution signature was present.

Total flash rates were between 1200 and 1500 flashes (5 min)−1 until 0307 UTC and then decreased rapidly to values less than 1000 flashes (5 min)−1 after this time (Fig. 16 bottom). Negative CG flash rates were near 300 flashes (5 min)−1 during the earlier stages (first 1.5 h) of the system and then decreased significantly concurrently with the total flash rate. Portions of the MCS exited the analysis domain (200 km × 200 km box centered on the LDAR II network) after 0312 UTC and this was the reason for the significant decrease in flash rates near this time. The total and −CG flash rates had similar trends throughout the period shown; there were relative maxima in both at 0127, near 0222, and near 0307 UTC, and both rates had relative minima near 0202, 0237, and 0302 UTC. Percent +CG values were between 10% and 20%, and the IC:CG ratio had small variations between 2 and 4 during this system’s lifetime.

The system’s −CG median peak current was generally larger than its +CG counterpart. Negative current values were between 16 and 18 kA while +CG currents were between 12 and 14 kA. Approximately 31% (13%) of the time periods (32 total) analyzed had −CG (+CG) maximum peak currents greater than or equal to 100 kA.

5. Discussion and conclusions

As in Part I, this study examined total lightning behavior in addition to radar reflectivity data to discover repeatable signatures used to diagnose thunderstorm intensity and forecast severe weather (straight-line winds).

The most significant severe straight-line wind signature found in this study is the development of a lightning comma-shape–bow structure in the LDAR II plan view source density prior to (over 10 min in the 13 October 2001 case) and during severe wind reports (Figs. 1 –3, 6 and 7). This structure is quite similar to the radar-detected bow echo, which is associated with strong downbursts (Przybylinski 1995). Two hypotheses explain the bow feature in source density: 1) new thunderstorm cells develop along the bowing gust front, initiating lightning in an orientation similar to the front, and 2) the strong winds advect charged cloud and precipitation particles ahead of the parent wind-producing thunderstorm and lightning initiates and/or propagates into these advected charge regions. The KFWS radar detected two altitudes near 4 and 12 km MSL of strong outbound radial velocity values [30 m s−1 (storm-relative radial velocity 14 m s−1); not shown] in the 13 October 2001 severe thunderstorm that are near two peak source density heights in Fig. 1c. The low-level velocity maximum is likely associated with the severe surface wind report while the upper one is likely storm-top outflow (environmental winds were greater than 38 m s−1 from the southwest near storm top). The strong winds at these levels likely advected the charge regions identified by the source peaks in Fig. 1 and played a role in the plan-view source density pattern. Examining several radar volume scans before and after the time period shown in Fig. 1 shows the initiation of a new cell at the apex in the reflectivity structure (the point where the reflectivity contours are most curved) at 0154:37 UTC, one volume scan before that shown in Fig. 1. The mean reflectivity maximum of 45 dBZ at (41, 50 km) in Fig. 1 indicates this cell. The first hypothesis discussed above is supported by these observations; the strong low-level winds initiated a new cell that, in conjunction with the original cell, developed a total lightning comma-shape pattern as observed in Figs. 1 –3 and 6. This lightning pattern persisted for several volume scan time intervals (over 20 min).

Most of the lightning occurred in the upper levels (above 6 km MSL; below −10°C) of the 27 May 2002 storm (Fig. 7). The low-level lightning was not detected because the storm was approximately 90 km from the LDAR II network (the LDAR II instrument misses radiation from low-level sources mainly due to line-of-sight propagation). In contrast to the 13 October 2001 storm, there is only one reflectivity maximum elongated along a south–north axis in the plan view. Most of the total lightning activity is ahead (to the east) of the storm reflectivity core. The tilt of the reflectivity core in the west–east vertical projection in Fig. 7b indicates that the cloud and precipitation particles were being advected by the environmental winds. The winds were from the west-southwest at 26 m s−1 near 10 km MSL according to the 1200 UTC 27 May 2002 FWD proximity sounding (storm-relative environmental winds were west-southwest at 10 m s−1). This explains why the maximum LDAR II source densities are to the east of the storm core as the charge region centered at 10 km MSL was also advected on the cloud/precipitation particles at this level (which supports the second hypothesis above), but this does not explain the bow shape. Storm advection during the volume scan time interval can also partially explain the storm tilt: by the time the radar beam sampled the upper levels of the storm, it propagated several kilometers downstream (to the east) of where the radar sampled the storm during its first elevation scan. The storm shown in Fig. 7 developed as a series of cells from north to south. A new cell developed to the south (less than 5 km) of the original cell of this storm at 2008:13 UTC (not shown), followed by the development of a new cell to its south by 2023:03 UTC. Each one of these cells developed a bow structure in the source density and had associated reflectivity bow echoes or weak echo notches within the rear portion of the system. Inbound radial velocity values near −20 m s−1 (storm-relative radial velocity −5 m s−1) indicate rear inflow occurred within these cells.

The evolution of lightning characteristics calculated within 10 km of the radar-identified storm cell must be examined with caution. Unlike the supercells examined in the first section, MCS cells are difficult to isolate. Hence, lightning from a nearby cell may contaminate the volume surrounding the cell of interest. The 10-km analysis radius was chosen because the 20-km radius ring frequently contained lightning from a nearby cell while the 5-km-radius ring did not include a significant fraction of lightning associated with the storm. Tracking the 13 October 2001 and 27 May 2002 severe wind producing thunderstorms (Figs. 1 and 7) using WDSS-II also shows that most of the radar reflectivity of a storm is contained within 10 km of the cell location without significant contamination from other cells. MCS cells develop discretely (along gust fronts) near other cells, and the cell tracking shown by the WDSS-II software [using the SCIT algorithm; Johnson et al. (1998)] is likely to have some error in cell identification.

A consistent relationship between the radar reflectivity and lightning characteristics of storm cells within an MCS and the severe straight-line winds they produce could not be found. Figure 4 shows that the vertical extent of the 13 October 2001 storm, denoted by the maximum heights of the reflectivity contours, began to decrease about 12 min prior to the wind report. However, the 27 May 2002 storm’s reported wind event occurred while the storm intensified (vertical extent increased in Fig. 8). Lightning flash rates (total and CG) also had varying relations to severe straight-line wind occurrences. Consistent with the decreasing trend in the vertical extent of the 13 October 2001 storm, the total, negative, and positive CG flash rates decreased during the high wind report (Fig. 5). However, the total and −CG flash rates increased to maximum values during the high wind report on 27 May 2002 (Fig. 9). The increasing trend in total flash rate during the 27 May 2002 storm is partially due to the storm propagating closer to the LDAR II network with time from 118- to 76-km range (source detection efficiency increased), but the large decrease in flash rates after the wind report in Fig. 9 shows this range effect is not significant enough to mask the true flash rate trends (otherwise the rate would continue increasing as the storm moves closer). If the hypothesis that flash rates are a good measure of storm intensity is valid, the strong relationship between the reflectivity development and lightning flash rates between Figs. 8 and 9 also supports that these trends are true. The total and −CG flash rates have opposite trends near the time of the 16 June 2002 high wind report (Fig. 12): total flash rate increases while the −CG rate decreases. This storm had nearby cells contaminating the lightning analysis and there was a large distance between the cell and wind report (Fig. 10), indicating there was a possible error in its association with the report. Lightning characteristics are good indicators of storm intensity if the MCS cells are isolated (no other cells within 10 km) as in the 27 May 2002 case. The percent positive values were quite small in all cases (<10%) and the trends have no relation with severe straight-line wind reports.

The lack of variation in the heights of the maximum LDAR II source densities in Figs. 4 and 8 during each respective time period is significantly different from the behavior observed during the lifetimes of the tornadic supercells in Part I. This seems unreasonable as cell updrafts evolve (strengthen and weaken) and the altitudes of charge separation and lightning activity should respond by ascending and descending (support for this hypothesis was shown in Part I). Inspection of the reflectivity data along with the SCIT-identified cell centroid locations for the 13 October and 27 May storms shows that one reflectivity maximum (one cell) was successfully tracked for the periods shown. Contamination from other cells was insignificant for most of the time periods as well. A possible explanation for the relatively constant altitudes of lightning activity is that the entire cell lifetime was not captured (SCIT did not detect the cell at its early stages and/or prematurely ended its lifetime). For the 27 May case, our methods prematurely ended the cell lifetime as it exited the analysis domain (entered within 30 km from the radar).

The inconsistent relationships between storm cell radar and lightning characteristics with severe wind reports can further be explained by the dynamics responsible for these strong surface winds. Bow-echo reflectivity structures and their associated winds (observed on 13 October and 27 May) are thought to be more the result of system processes, and not necessarily directly related to individual convective cell downdrafts. The development of a rear-inflow jet [see Wakimoto (2001) for an excellent review on the dynamics of MCS high wind events] that interacts with the convective downdrafts of a line of cells produces severe winds at the surface associated with bow echoes (and lightning source density bows). The cell characteristics calculated in this study (for the detected cells closest in time and space to the wind reports) may not be good indicators of how the storm system, composed of several cells, is evolving that is responsible for the severe winds.

Consistent with the findings of Mazur et al. (1986) and Part I (supercells), where reflectivity contours extend upward, the layer height and values of maximum source density are greater (see Figs. 1 –3, 7 and 13). These features indicate where the main storm updraft is located. A vertical bridge of enhanced source density connects the bimodal distribution of sources in Figs. 1 –3. The strong updraft at this location enhanced charging and hence lightning development within the vertical column encompassing the updraft. The height-y projection in Fig. 7e shows the maximum source density layer is at a higher altitude within the storm core (at y = −25 km) relative to the altitude of the lightning layer extending to the north of the core. To test the idea that the altitude of lightning activity can be used to infer storm strength, linear correlation coefficients between the lightning heights [lower-quartile, median, modal, and 95th percentile (lightning top) source altitudes] and a radar measure of storm intensity (radar top; maximum height of the storm cell 30-dBZ echo contour) were calculated. The correlation coefficient between radar top and lightning top for the 27 May 2002 storm is 0.19, but it is not statistically significant at the p = 0.05 level. The 13 October 2001 MCS cell has a more significant correlation coefficient of 0.41 between these two variables. Surprisingly, the correlation coefficients for the 27 May 2002 storm between radar top and the other lightning heights (lower quartile, median, and modal heights) are negative (r values near −0.40). The same coefficients for the 13 October 2001 storm are positive, except for the radar top–lower-quartile source height coefficient. These results weakly support the hypothesis that lightning altitude is a measure of storm cell intensity within an MCS. In contrast, similar analysis for supercells in Table 1 of Part I strongly supports this hypothesis.

Carey et al. (2005) and Dotzek et al. (2005) discuss the reflectivity and total lightning structures of squall lines that occurred on 16 June 2002 and 7–8 April 2002, respectively, near Dallas–Fort Worth using similar datasets as in this study. As with the 13 October 2001 system analyzed here, these were LLTS MCSs. An individual cell that was associated with a severe wind report from the 16 June 2002 system is analyzed in section 3c. This presents an ideal situation to compare results between squall lines from different dates (and seasons) that used the same instrumentation (LDAR II and KFWS WSR-88D).

Radar reflectivity and lightning characteristics of the complete 13 October 2001 squall line have many similarities to the results from Carey et al. (2005) and Dotzek et al. (2005). The LDAR II source density is well associated with the radar reflectivity in Fig. 13 [also shown by McCormick (2003) for this case]. The source density and mean reflectivity contours slope downward to the west of the convective line (the region in the west–east vertical projection of Fig. 13 where reflectivity contours have a maximum upward extent identifies the convective line). Carey et al. (2005) interpret this observation to support the charge advection hypothesis for stratiform region charging (Rutledge and MacGorman 1988). The in situ charging mechanism, however, cannot be rejected (Rutledge et al. 1990; Carey et al.). The lightning bipole (Orville et al. 1988) is nonexistent during the 13 October 2001 case. Figures 14 and 15 show that both polarity flashes mostly occur within convection (this was true for each volume scan during the analyzed system lifetime of >1.5 h); hence, a separate analysis of convective and stratiform CG characteristics was not performed. Large values of +CG flash density are associated with a strong convective cell (35-dBZ reflectivity contour extends above 13 km MSL) in Fig. 15. The cell’s position on the northern end of the squall line is unusual as strong storm cells dominated by +CGs typically occur on the southern end (MacGorman and Rust 1998, p. 278). This cell had strong updrafts that likely produced large liquid water contents that can lead to the growth and positive charging of graupel particles (Saunders 1993) in the low levels of the storm and enhanced +CG lightning production (e.g., Williams 2001).

The weak IC lightning activity to the east of the 13 October 2001 system is associated with the forward anvil of the squall line (Fig. 13). Even though CG flashes are not associated with this feature, it shows that the cloud is electrified 20 km ahead of the storm. This has an important implication for warning people of dangerous weather as lightning could propagate to the ground from the anvil well ahead of the system, and is also dangerous to nearby flying aircraft.

Lightning signatures related to storm cell intensity within MCSs include larger LDAR II source density and higher total flash rates as cells strengthen, thicker and elevated lightning layers associated with inferred updraft regions, and source density comma-shape–bow structures associated with high wind events. Other cases need to be examined to test if these signatures are common with these storms and can be used by forecasters. The lightning characteristics calculated within 10 km of an MCS cell show some skill in determining storm intensity and relations with severe straight-line winds. They are not as useful as with supercells (Part I), likely because these cells are not well isolated and interact with nearby cells. MCS cells also discretely develop along gust fronts and radar algorithms (i.e., SCIT) have difficulties in tracking them. Finally, storm system and not individual cell processes are thought to be mainly responsible for severe winds associated with MCSs. These results were only tested with severe straight-line winds; improved relationships may occur with hail and tornado occurrences in MCSs. Analyzing trends in individual thunderstorm cell characteristics show more variation than do total system characteristics (cf. Figs. 9 and 16). If total lightning data will be used to diagnose/predict intensity changes and severe weather occurrence, it is recommended to use cell analysis. Future research should focus on how to better isolate lightning with a particular storm cell and study other severe weather types in MCSs.

Acknowledgments

The lightning data (LDAR II and NLDN) were obtained from Vaisala, Inc., of Tucson, Arizona. We thank Dr. Martin Murphy and Nick Demetriades for their assistance in obtaining the data and for many insightful discussions on some of the results. The WSR-88D radar data were initially analyzed using WDSS-II, and we are grateful to Dr. Valliappa Lakshmanan and Gregory Stumpf for their assistance with this software. We also wish to thank Brandon Ely for sharing his computer expertise with us in producing some of the figures and also for his helpful comments on this research. This manuscript was a portion of a Ph.D. dissertation and we thank Drs. John Nielsen-Gammon, Donald MacGorman, Fuqing Zhang, and George Kattawar for their comments. Our research is part of a lightning program supported by the National Science Foundation Award ATM-0442011.

REFERENCES

  • Carey, L. D., and S. A. Rutledge, 1996: A multiparameter radar case study of the microphysical and kinematic evolution of a lightning producing storm. Meteor. Atmos. Phys., 59 , 3364.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Carey, L. D., M. J. Murphy, T. L. McCormick, and N. W. S. Demetriades, 2005: Lightning location relative to storm structure in a leading-line, trailing-stratiform mesoscale convective system. J. Geophys. Res., 110 .D03105, doi:10.1029/2003JD004371.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cummins, K. L., M. J. Murphy, E. A. Bardo, W. L. Hiscox, R. B. Pyle, and A. E. Pifer, 1998: A combined TOA/MDF technology upgrade of the U.S. National Lightning Detection Network. J. Geophys. Res., 103 , 90359044.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dotzek, N., R. M. Rabin, L. D. Carey, D. R. MacGorman, T. L. McCormick, N. W. Demetriades, M. J. Murphy, and R. L. Holle, 2005: Lightning activity related to satellite and radar observations of a mesoscale convective system over Texas on 7–8 April 2002. Atmos. Res., 76 , 127166.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Goodman, S. J., and D. R. MacGorman, 1986: Cloud-to-ground lightning activity in mesoscale convective complexes. Mon. Wea. Rev., 114 , 23202328.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hondl, K. D., 2003: Capabilities and components of the Warning Decision Support System-Integrated Information (WDSS-II). Preprints, 19th Conf. on Interactive Information Processing Systems (IIPS) for Meteorology, Oceanography, and Hydrology, Long Beach, CA, Amer. Meteor. Soc., CD-ROM, 14.7.

  • Houze Jr., R. A., B. F. Smull, and P. Dodge, 1990: Mesoscale organization of springtime rainstorms in Oklahoma. Mon. Wea. Rev., 118 , 613654.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Johnson, J. T., P. L. MacKeen, A. Witt, E. D. Mitchell, G. J. Stumpf, M. D. Eilts, and K. W. Thomas, 1998: The Storm Cell Identification and Tracking algorithm: An enhanced WSR-88D algorithm. Wea. Forecasting, 13 , 263276.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lang, T. J., S. A. Rutledge, and K. C. Wiens, 2004: Origins of positive cloud-to-ground lightning flashes in the stratiform region of a mesoscale convective system. Geophys. Res. Lett., 31 .L10105, doi:10.1029/2004GL019823.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Leary, C. A., and R. A. Houze Jr., 1979: The structure and evolution of convection in a tropical cloud cluster. J. Atmos. Sci., 36 , 437457.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • MacGorman, D. R., and C. D. Morgenstern, 1998: Some characteristics of cloud-to-ground lightning in mesoscale convective systems. J. Geophys. Res., 103 , 1401114023.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • MacGorman, D. R., and W. D. Rust, 1998: The Electrical Nature of Storms. Oxford University Press, 422 pp.

  • MacGorman, D. R., D. W. Burgess, V. Mazur, W. D. Rust, W. L. Taylor, and B. C. Johnson, 1989: Lightning rates relative to tornadic storm evolution on 22 May 1981. J. Atmos. Sci., 46 , 221250.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mansell, E. R., D. R. MacGorman, C. Ziegler, and J. M. Straka, 2002: Simulated three-dimensional branched lightning in a numerical thunderstorm model. J. Geophys. Res., 107 .4075, doi:10.1029/2000JD00244.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mazur, V., and W. D. Rust, 1983: Lightning propagation and flash density in squall lines as determined with radar. J. Geophys. Res., 88 , 14951502.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mazur, V., W. D. Rust, and J. C. Gerlach, 1986: Evolution of lightning flash density and reflectivity structure in a multicell thunderstorm. J. Geophys. Res., 91 , 86908700.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McCormick, T. L., 2003: Three-dimensional radar and total lightning characteristics of mesoscale convective systems. M.S. thesis, Dept. of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, 354 pp.

  • NCDC, 2001: Storm Data. Vol. 43, No. 10, 174 pp. [Available from National Climatic Data Center, 151 Patton Ave., Asheville, NC 28801.].

  • NCDC, 2002a: Storm Data. Vol. 44, No. 5, 420 pp. [Available from National Climatic Data Center, Federal Building, 151 Patton Ave., Asheville, NC 28801.].

  • NCDC, 2002b: Storm Data. Vol. 44, No. 6, 354 pp. [Available from National Climatic Data Center, 151 Patton Ave., Asheville, NC 28801.].

  • Orville, R. E., R. W. Henderson, and L. F. Bosart, 1988: Bipole patterns revealed by lightning locations in mesoscale storm systems. Geophys. Res. Lett., 15 , 129132.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Petersen, W. A., and S. A. Rutledge, 1992: Some characteristics of cloud-to-ground lightning in tropical northern Australia. J. Geophys. Res., 97 , 1155311560.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Proctor, D. E., 1991: Regions where lightning flashes began. J. Geophys. Res., 96 , 50995112.

  • Przybylinski, R. W., 1995: The bow echo: Observations, numerical simulations, and severe weather detection methods. Wea. Forecasting, 10 , 203218.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rison, W., R. J. Thomas, P. R. Krehbiel, T. Hamlin, and J. Harlin, 1999: A GPS-based three-dimensional lightning mapping system: Initial observations in central New Mexico. Geophys. Res. Lett., 26 , 35733576.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rutledge, S. A., and D. R. MacGorman, 1988: Cloud-to-ground lightning activity in the 10–11 June 1985 mesoscale convective system observed during the Oklahoma–Kansas PRE-STORM project. Mon. Wea. Rev., 116 , 13931408.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rutledge, S. A., C. Lu, and D. R. MacGorman, 1990: Positive cloud-to-ground lightning in mesoscale convective systems. J. Atmos. Sci., 47 , 20852100.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Saunders, C. P. R., 1993: A review of thunderstorm electrification processes. J. Appl. Meteor., 32 , 642655.

  • Schuur, T. J., B. F. Smull, W. D. Rust, and T. C. Marshall, 1991: Electrical and kinematic structure of the stratiform precipitation region trailing an Oklahoma squall line. J. Atmos. Sci., 48 , 825841.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Steiger, S. M., 2005: Thunderstorm lightning and radar characteristics: Insights on electrification and severe weather forecasting. Ph.D. dissertation, Texas A&M University, 207 pp.

  • Steiger, S. M., R. E. Orville, and L. D. Carey, 2007: Total lightning signatures of thunderstorm intensity over north Texas. Part I: Supercells. Mon. Wea. Rev., 135 , 32813302.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stolzenburg, M., T. C. Marshall, W. D. Rust, and B. F. Smull, 1994: Horizontal distribution of electrical and meteorological conditions across the stratiform region of a mesoscale convective system. Mon. Wea. Rev., 122 , 17771797.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stolzenburg, M., W. D. Rust, B. F. Smull, and T. C. Marshall, 1998: Electrical structure in thunderstorm convective regions, 1. Mesoscale convective systems. J. Geophys. Res., 103 , 1405914078.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wakimoto, R. M., 2001: Convectively driven high wind events. Severe Convective Storms, Meteor. Monogr., No. 50, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 255–298.

  • Williams, E. R., 2001: The electrification of severe storms. Severe Convective Storms, Meteor. Monogr., No. 50, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 527–561.

  • Williams, E. R., and Coauthors, 1999: The behavior of total lightning activity in severe Florida thunderstorms. Atmos. Res., 51 , 245265.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.

LDAR II source density and mean radar reflectivity of storm cells within an MCS on 13 Oct 2001 (5-min period). (a) Time (UTC)-vs-height display of lightning source density at 5-s and 1-km resolutions. (d) Plan-view projection of mean reflectivity (dBZ, contoured as shown) overlaid on source density (color bar gives values in sources per square kilometer). The resolution of the LDAR II and radar data is 1 km. The asterisk is the location of the cell of interest (at 31, 56 km) detected by WDSS-II. Vertical projections of source density and mean reflectivity for (b) west–east and (e) south–north projections. The height resolutions of the LDAR II and radar data are 1 and 0.5 km, respectively. The color bar is not associated with these panels or the time–height panel. (c) Normalized height histogram of the number of sources and flash origins (shaded) at 1-km intervals. Environmental temperature levels are plotted as bars, and the total numbers of sources, flashes, and peak source height (km) are given above the histogram. The axes are labeled as distances (x: west–east, y: south–north) from the KFWS radar (located at 0, 0 km), and in the vertical direction are heights (km) MSL.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 10; 10.1175/MWR3483.1

Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.

Same as in Fig. 1 except that the maximum 40-dBZ echo height (km, contoured as shown) is overlaid on the source density in the plan view. The contour interval is 4 km.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 10; 10.1175/MWR3483.1

Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.

Same as in Fig. 1 but at 0214:24–0219:21 UTC 13 Oct 2001. The “W” in each panel represents the time and location of a severe wind report associated with this cell (located at 41, 68 km).

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 10; 10.1175/MWR3483.1

Fig. 4.
Fig. 4.

Time–height plot of the mean radar reflectivity (see color bar at top) and LDAR II source density [sources km−1 (5 min)−1] for an MCS storm cell between 0129:52 and 0224:18 UTC 13 Oct 2001. To calculate these values, radar and lightning data were averaged within 10 km of the cell centroid during each volume time interval. A severe wind (W) report and the ambient temperature levels are also shown. After 1 source km−1 (5 min)−1, the source density contour intervals proceed as 2x, where x is the previous contour interval, with the first value being 200 sources km−1 (5 min)−1. The duration of time between each tick mark is approximately 5 min.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 10; 10.1175/MWR3483.1

Fig. 5.
Fig. 5.

Time history of (top) LDAR II lightning height characteristics and (bottom) IC and CG lightning characteristics calculated within 10 km of a 13 Oct 2001 MCS storm cell for each radar volume scan interval. The lightning-based storm top (95th percentile height: Ltop), modal (ht1), median (med), and lower-quartile (quart) heights are shown in the top panel. The ±CG flash rate (pos/neg), percent positive CG flashes (ppos), total flash rate (nfl; right y axis), and IC:CG ratio (rat) are shown in the bottom panel. The duration of a severe wind (W) report associated with this storm is also plotted. Each x tick mark represents the midpoint of a volume scan and the time interval between each tick mark is approximately 5 min.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 10; 10.1175/MWR3483.1

Fig. 6.
Fig. 6.

Same in Fig. 1 but from 0204:30 to 0209:27 UTC 13 Oct 2001 and instead of the mean radar reflectivity, the negative CG flash density is overlaid on the LDAR II source density in the plan view. The resolution of the CG data is 5 km and the contour interval is 0.08 flashes km−2, starting at 0.06 flashes km−2. Note 1 flash per grid box (25 km2) is 0.04 flashes km−2. The location of the asterisk indicates the cell is located at (39, 60 km).

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 10; 10.1175/MWR3483.1

Fig. 7.
Fig. 7.

Same as in Fig. 1 but from 2018:07 to 2023:03 UTC 27 May 2002. The “W” in each panel represents the time and location of a severe wind report associated with this cell. The cell location (asterisk) is (−42, −16 km).

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 10; 10.1175/MWR3483.1

Fig. 8.
Fig. 8.

Same as in Fig. 4 but from 1913:47 to 2047:48 UTC 27 May 2002.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 10; 10.1175/MWR3483.1

Fig. 9.
Fig. 9.

Same as in Fig. 5 but for a different storm cell on 27 May 2002.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 10; 10.1175/MWR3483.1

Fig. 10.
Fig. 10.

Same as in Fig. 1 but from 0455:28 to 0500:25 UTC 16 Jun 2002. The time and location of a severe wind report are also shown (W). Note the weak echo notch (WEN). The cell location (asterisk) is (−79, 11 km).

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 10; 10.1175/MWR3483.1

Fig. 11.
Fig. 11.

Same as in Fig. 4 but from 0440:37 to 0559:48 UTC 16 Jun 2002.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 10; 10.1175/MWR3483.1

Fig. 12.
Fig. 12.

Same as in Fig. 5 but for a different storm cell on 16 Jun 2002.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 10; 10.1175/MWR3483.1

Fig. 13.
Fig. 13.

Same as in Fig. 1 but for a total MCS from 0209:27 to 0214:24 UTC 13 Oct 2001. This plot is approximately centered on the LDAR II network located at (25, 35 km), and the horizontal dimensions are 200 km × 200 km (Fig. 1 is 60 km × 60 km).

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 10; 10.1175/MWR3483.1

Fig. 14.
Fig. 14.

Mean reflectivity and −CG flash density for a total MCS between 0209:27 and 0214:24 UTC 13 Oct 2001. The color bar (top) gives values of reflectivity in dBZ. The resolutions and contour intervals are the same for the radar and CG flash density as given in Figs. 7 and 6, respectively. Ambient temperature levels are given in the x-height projection. The area of no reflectivity near (0, 0 km) in the plan view represents the volume scan’s cone of silence, while the area of >55 dBZ reflectivity in the south–north vertical projection below 3 km MSL between y = 70 and 100 km is a measurement error (notice the lack of continuity in the contour intervals on the north end).

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 10; 10.1175/MWR3483.1

Fig. 15.
Fig. 15.

Same as in Fig. 14 except that the +CG flash density is overlaid on the mean reflectivity in the plan view and this system occurred from 0139:46 to 0144:43 UTC 13 Oct 2001.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 10; 10.1175/MWR3483.1

Fig. 16.
Fig. 16.

Same as in Fig. 5 but for the entire MCS that occurred on 13 Oct 2001. These characteristics were calculated using sources within a 200 km × 200 km box centered on the LDAR II network for each volume scan.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 10; 10.1175/MWR3483.1

Save
  • Carey, L. D., and S. A. Rutledge, 1996: A multiparameter radar case study of the microphysical and kinematic evolution of a lightning producing storm. Meteor. Atmos. Phys., 59 , 3364.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Carey, L. D., M. J. Murphy, T. L. McCormick, and N. W. S. Demetriades, 2005: Lightning location relative to storm structure in a leading-line, trailing-stratiform mesoscale convective system. J. Geophys. Res., 110 .D03105, doi:10.1029/2003JD004371.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cummins, K. L., M. J. Murphy, E. A. Bardo, W. L. Hiscox, R. B. Pyle, and A. E. Pifer, 1998: A combined TOA/MDF technology upgrade of the U.S. National Lightning Detection Network. J. Geophys. Res., 103 , 90359044.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dotzek, N., R. M. Rabin, L. D. Carey, D. R. MacGorman, T. L. McCormick, N. W. Demetriades, M. J. Murphy, and R. L. Holle, 2005: Lightning activity related to satellite and radar observations of a mesoscale convective system over Texas on 7–8 April 2002. Atmos. Res., 76 , 127166.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Goodman, S. J., and D. R. MacGorman, 1986: Cloud-to-ground lightning activity in mesoscale convective complexes. Mon. Wea. Rev., 114 , 23202328.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hondl, K. D., 2003: Capabilities and components of the Warning Decision Support System-Integrated Information (WDSS-II). Preprints, 19th Conf. on Interactive Information Processing Systems (IIPS) for Meteorology, Oceanography, and Hydrology, Long Beach, CA, Amer. Meteor. Soc., CD-ROM, 14.7.

  • Houze Jr., R. A., B. F. Smull, and P. Dodge, 1990: Mesoscale organization of springtime rainstorms in Oklahoma. Mon. Wea. Rev., 118 , 613654.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Johnson, J. T., P. L. MacKeen, A. Witt, E. D. Mitchell, G. J. Stumpf, M. D. Eilts, and K. W. Thomas, 1998: The Storm Cell Identification and Tracking algorithm: An enhanced WSR-88D algorithm. Wea. Forecasting, 13 , 263276.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lang, T. J., S. A. Rutledge, and K. C. Wiens, 2004: Origins of positive cloud-to-ground lightning flashes in the stratiform region of a mesoscale convective system. Geophys. Res. Lett., 31 .L10105, doi:10.1029/2004GL019823.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Leary, C. A., and R. A. Houze Jr., 1979: The structure and evolution of convection in a tropical cloud cluster. J. Atmos. Sci., 36 , 437457.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • MacGorman, D. R., and C. D. Morgenstern, 1998: Some characteristics of cloud-to-ground lightning in mesoscale convective systems. J. Geophys. Res., 103 , 1401114023.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • MacGorman, D. R., and W. D. Rust, 1998: The Electrical Nature of Storms. Oxford University Press, 422 pp.

  • MacGorman, D. R., D. W. Burgess, V. Mazur, W. D. Rust, W. L. Taylor, and B. C. Johnson, 1989: Lightning rates relative to tornadic storm evolution on 22 May 1981. J. Atmos. Sci., 46 , 221250.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mansell, E. R., D. R. MacGorman, C. Ziegler, and J. M. Straka, 2002: Simulated three-dimensional branched lightning in a numerical thunderstorm model. J. Geophys. Res., 107 .4075, doi:10.1029/2000JD00244.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mazur, V., and W. D. Rust, 1983: Lightning propagation and flash density in squall lines as determined with radar. J. Geophys. Res., 88 , 14951502.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mazur, V., W. D. Rust, and J. C. Gerlach, 1986: Evolution of lightning flash density and reflectivity structure in a multicell thunderstorm. J. Geophys. Res., 91 , 86908700.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McCormick, T. L., 2003: Three-dimensional radar and total lightning characteristics of mesoscale convective systems. M.S. thesis, Dept. of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, 354 pp.

  • NCDC, 2001: Storm Data. Vol. 43, No. 10, 174 pp. [Available from National Climatic Data Center, 151 Patton Ave., Asheville, NC 28801.].

  • NCDC, 2002a: Storm Data. Vol. 44, No. 5, 420 pp. [Available from National Climatic Data Center, Federal Building, 151 Patton Ave., Asheville, NC 28801.].

  • NCDC, 2002b: Storm Data. Vol. 44, No. 6, 354 pp. [Available from National Climatic Data Center, 151 Patton Ave., Asheville, NC 28801.].

  • Orville, R. E., R. W. Henderson, and L. F. Bosart, 1988: Bipole patterns revealed by lightning locations in mesoscale storm systems. Geophys. Res. Lett., 15 , 129132.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Petersen, W. A., and S. A. Rutledge, 1992: Some characteristics of cloud-to-ground lightning in tropical northern Australia. J. Geophys. Res., 97 , 1155311560.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Proctor, D. E., 1991: Regions where lightning flashes began. J. Geophys. Res., 96 , 50995112.

  • Przybylinski, R. W., 1995: The bow echo: Observations, numerical simulations, and severe weather detection methods. Wea. Forecasting, 10 , 203218.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rison, W., R. J. Thomas, P. R. Krehbiel, T. Hamlin, and J. Harlin, 1999: A GPS-based three-dimensional lightning mapping system: Initial observations in central New Mexico. Geophys. Res. Lett., 26 , 35733576.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rutledge, S. A., and D. R. MacGorman, 1988: Cloud-to-ground lightning activity in the 10–11 June 1985 mesoscale convective system observed during the Oklahoma–Kansas PRE-STORM project. Mon. Wea. Rev., 116 , 13931408.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rutledge, S. A., C. Lu, and D. R. MacGorman, 1990: Positive cloud-to-ground lightning in mesoscale convective systems. J. Atmos. Sci., 47 , 20852100.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Saunders, C. P. R., 1993: A review of thunderstorm electrification processes. J. Appl. Meteor., 32 , 642655.

  • Schuur, T. J., B. F. Smull, W. D. Rust, and T. C. Marshall, 1991: Electrical and kinematic structure of the stratiform precipitation region trailing an Oklahoma squall line. J. Atmos. Sci., 48 , 825841.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Steiger, S. M., 2005: Thunderstorm lightning and radar characteristics: Insights on electrification and severe weather forecasting. Ph.D. dissertation, Texas A&M University, 207 pp.

  • Steiger, S. M., R. E. Orville, and L. D. Carey, 2007: Total lightning signatures of thunderstorm intensity over north Texas. Part I: Supercells. Mon. Wea. Rev., 135 , 32813302.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stolzenburg, M., T. C. Marshall, W. D. Rust, and B. F. Smull, 1994: Horizontal distribution of electrical and meteorological conditions across the stratiform region of a mesoscale convective system. Mon. Wea. Rev., 122 , 17771797.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stolzenburg, M., W. D. Rust, B. F. Smull, and T. C. Marshall, 1998: Electrical structure in thunderstorm convective regions, 1. Mesoscale convective systems. J. Geophys. Res., 103 , 1405914078.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wakimoto, R. M., 2001: Convectively driven high wind events. Severe Convective Storms, Meteor. Monogr., No. 50, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 255–298.

  • Williams, E. R., 2001: The electrification of severe storms. Severe Convective Storms, Meteor. Monogr., No. 50, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 527–561.

  • Williams, E. R., and Coauthors, 1999: The behavior of total lightning activity in severe Florida thunderstorms. Atmos. Res., 51 , 245265.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fig. 1.

    LDAR II source density and mean radar reflectivity of storm cells within an MCS on 13 Oct 2001 (5-min period). (a) Time (UTC)-vs-height display of lightning source density at 5-s and 1-km resolutions. (d) Plan-view projection of mean reflectivity (dBZ, contoured as shown) overlaid on source density (color bar gives values in sources per square kilometer). The resolution of the LDAR II and radar data is 1 km. The asterisk is the location of the cell of interest (at 31, 56 km) detected by WDSS-II. Vertical projections of source density and mean reflectivity for (b) west–east and (e) south–north projections. The height resolutions of the LDAR II and radar data are 1 and 0.5 km, respectively. The color bar is not associated with these panels or the time–height panel. (c) Normalized height histogram of the number of sources and flash origins (shaded) at 1-km intervals. Environmental temperature levels are plotted as bars, and the total numbers of sources, flashes, and peak source height (km) are given above the histogram. The axes are labeled as distances (x: west–east, y: south–north) from the KFWS radar (located at 0, 0 km), and in the vertical direction are heights (km) MSL.

  • Fig. 2.

    Same as in Fig. 1 except that the maximum 40-dBZ echo height (km, contoured as shown) is overlaid on the source density in the plan view. The contour interval is 4 km.

  • Fig. 3.

    Same as in Fig. 1 but at 0214:24–0219:21 UTC 13 Oct 2001. The “W” in each panel represents the time and location of a severe wind report associated with this cell (located at 41, 68 km).

  • Fig. 4.

    Time–height plot of the mean radar reflectivity (see color bar at top) and LDAR II source density [sources km−1 (5 min)−1] for an MCS storm cell between 0129:52 and 0224:18 UTC 13 Oct 2001. To calculate these values, radar and lightning data were averaged within 10 km of the cell centroid during each volume time interval. A severe wind (W) report and the ambient temperature levels are also shown. After 1 source km−1 (5 min)−1, the source density contour intervals proceed as 2x, where x is the previous contour interval, with the first value being 200 sources km−1 (5 min)−1. The duration of time between each tick mark is approximately 5 min.

  • Fig. 5.

    Time history of (top) LDAR II lightning height characteristics and (bottom) IC and CG lightning characteristics calculated within 10 km of a 13 Oct 2001 MCS storm cell for each radar volume scan interval. The lightning-based storm top (95th percentile height: Ltop), modal (ht1), median (med), and lower-quartile (quart) heights are shown in the top panel. The ±CG flash rate (pos/neg), percent positive CG flashes (ppos), total flash rate (nfl; right y axis), and IC:CG ratio (rat) are shown in the bottom panel. The duration of a severe wind (W) report associated with this storm is also plotted. Each x tick mark represents the midpoint of a volume scan and the time interval between each tick mark is approximately 5 min.

  • Fig. 6.

    Same in Fig. 1 but from 0204:30 to 0209:27 UTC 13 Oct 2001 and instead of the mean radar reflectivity, the negative CG flash density is overlaid on the LDAR II source density in the plan view. The resolution of the CG data is 5 km and the contour interval is 0.08 flashes km−2, starting at 0.06 flashes km−2. Note 1 flash per grid box (25 km2) is 0.04 flashes km−2. The location of the asterisk indicates the cell is located at (39, 60 km).

  • Fig. 7.

    Same as in Fig. 1 but from 2018:07 to 2023:03 UTC 27 May 2002. The “W” in each panel represents the time and location of a severe wind report associated with this cell. The cell location (asterisk) is (−42, −16 km).

  • Fig. 8.

    Same as in Fig. 4 but from 1913:47 to 2047:48 UTC 27 May 2002.

  • Fig. 9.

    Same as in Fig. 5 but for a different storm cell on 27 May 2002.

  • Fig. 10.

    Same as in Fig. 1 but from 0455:28 to 0500:25 UTC 16 Jun 2002. The time and location of a severe wind report are also shown (W). Note the weak echo notch (WEN). The cell location (asterisk) is (−79, 11 km).

  • Fig. 11.

    Same as in Fig. 4 but from 0440:37 to 0559:48 UTC 16 Jun 2002.

  • Fig. 12.

    Same as in Fig. 5 but for a different storm cell on 16 Jun 2002.

  • Fig. 13.

    Same as in Fig. 1 but for a total MCS from 0209:27 to 0214:24 UTC 13 Oct 2001. This plot is approximately centered on the LDAR II network located at (25, 35 km), and the horizontal dimensions are 200 km × 200 km (Fig. 1 is 60 km × 60 km).

  • Fig. 14.

    Mean reflectivity and −CG flash density for a total MCS between 0209:27 and 0214:24 UTC 13 Oct 2001. The color bar (top) gives values of reflectivity in dBZ. The resolutions and contour intervals are the same for the radar and CG flash density as given in Figs. 7 and 6, respectively. Ambient temperature levels are given in the x-height projection. The area of no reflectivity near (0, 0 km) in the plan view represents the volume scan’s cone of silence, while the area of >55 dBZ reflectivity in the south–north vertical projection below 3 km MSL between y = 70 and 100 km is a measurement error (notice the lack of continuity in the contour intervals on the north end).

  • Fig. 15.

    Same as in Fig. 14 except that the +CG flash density is overlaid on the mean reflectivity in the plan view and this system occurred from 0139:46 to 0144:43 UTC 13 Oct 2001.

  • Fig. 16.

    Same as in Fig. 5 but for the entire MCS that occurred on 13 Oct 2001. These characteristics were calculated using sources within a 200 km × 200 km box centered on the LDAR II network for each volume scan.

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 212 57 4
PDF Downloads 159 38 1