skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

This content will become publicly available on August 30, 2020

Title: Using Lightning Flashes to Image Thunderclouds

Abstract

We report the optical energy emitted by lightning flashes interacts with the surrounding cloud medium through scattering and absorption. The optical signals recorded by space-based lightning imagers describe a convolution of lightning flash energetics and radiative transfer effects in the intervening cloud layer. A thundercloud imaging technique is presented that characterizes cloud regions based on how they are illuminated by lightning. This technique models the spatial distribution of optical energy in radiant lightning pulses to determine whether and to what extent each illuminated cloud pixel behaves like a homogeneous planar cloud layer. A gridded product is constructed that differentiates flashes that illuminate convective cells from stratiform flashes with long horizontal channels and anvil flashes whose optical emissions reflect off of nearby cloud surfaces. Lastly, producing this imagery with a rolling 15-min window allows us to visualize changes in convection with a rapid (20 s) update cycle.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1570648
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-19-24641
Journal ID: ISSN 2169-897X
Grant/Contract Number:  
89233218CNA000001
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres; Journal ID: ISSN 2169-897X
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; meteorology; lightning; thunderstorm; imaging; noaa; goes; glm

Citation Formats

Peterson, Michael Jay. Using Lightning Flashes to Image Thunderclouds. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1029/2019JD031055.
Peterson, Michael Jay. Using Lightning Flashes to Image Thunderclouds. United States. doi:10.1029/2019JD031055.
Peterson, Michael Jay. Fri . "Using Lightning Flashes to Image Thunderclouds". United States. doi:10.1029/2019JD031055.
@article{osti_1570648,
title = {Using Lightning Flashes to Image Thunderclouds},
author = {Peterson, Michael Jay},
abstractNote = {We report the optical energy emitted by lightning flashes interacts with the surrounding cloud medium through scattering and absorption. The optical signals recorded by space-based lightning imagers describe a convolution of lightning flash energetics and radiative transfer effects in the intervening cloud layer. A thundercloud imaging technique is presented that characterizes cloud regions based on how they are illuminated by lightning. This technique models the spatial distribution of optical energy in radiant lightning pulses to determine whether and to what extent each illuminated cloud pixel behaves like a homogeneous planar cloud layer. A gridded product is constructed that differentiates flashes that illuminate convective cells from stratiform flashes with long horizontal channels and anvil flashes whose optical emissions reflect off of nearby cloud surfaces. Lastly, producing this imagery with a rolling 15-min window allows us to visualize changes in convection with a rapid (20 s) update cycle.},
doi = {10.1029/2019JD031055},
journal = {Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {8}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
This content will become publicly available on August 30, 2020
Publisher's Version of Record

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

Lightning initiation in the anvils of two supercell storms: LIGHTNING INITIATION IN SUPERCELL ANVILS
journal, April 2009

  • Kuhlman, K. M.; MacGorman, D. R.; Biggerstaff, M. I.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 36, Issue 7
  • DOI: 10.1029/2008GL036650

Simulations of lightning optical waveforms as seen through clouds by satellites
journal, August 2001

  • Light, T. E.; Suszcynsky, D. M.; Kirkland, M. W.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 106, Issue D15
  • DOI: 10.1029/2001JD900051

Mapping the Lateral Development of Lightning Flashes From Orbit
journal, September 2018

  • Peterson, Michael; Rudlosky, Scott; Deierling, Wiebke
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 123, Issue 17
  • DOI: 10.1029/2018JD028583

The properties of optical lightning flashes and the clouds they illuminate: Optical Lightning and Illuminated Clouds
journal, January 2017

  • Peterson, Michael; Deierling, Wiebke; Liu, Chuntao
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 122, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1002/2016JD025312

The Effects of Clouds on the Light Produced by Lightning
journal, September 1982


Nocturnal Photographs Taken from a U-2 Airplane Looking Down on Tops of Clouds Illuminated by Lightning
journal, October 1989


The Evolution and Structure of Extreme Optical Lightning Flashes: Optical Lightning Flash Extremes
journal, December 2017

  • Peterson, Michael; Rudlosky, Scott; Deierling, Wiebke
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 122, Issue 24
  • DOI: 10.1002/2017JD026855

Relationship of intracloud lightning radiofrequency power to lightning storm height, as observed by the FORTE satellite
journal, January 2003


A GPS-based three-dimensional lightning mapping system: Initial observations in central New Mexico
journal, December 1999

  • Rison, W.; Thomas, R. J.; Krehbiel, P. R.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 26, Issue 23
  • DOI: 10.1029/1999GL010856

Introducing the Next-Generation Advanced Baseline Imager on Goes-R
journal, August 2005

  • Schmit, Timothy J.; Gunshor, Mathew M.; Menzel, W. Paul
  • Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Vol. 86, Issue 8
  • DOI: 10.1175/BAMS-86-8-1079

Comparison of ground-based 3-dimensional lightning mapping observations with satellite-based LIS observations in Oklahoma
journal, June 2000

  • Thomas, Ronald J.; Krehbiel, Paul R.; Rison, William
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 27, Issue 12
  • DOI: 10.1029/1999GL010845

The Time Evolution of Optical Lightning Flashes
journal, December 2018

  • Peterson, Michael; Rudlosky, Scott
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
  • DOI: 10.1029/2018JD028741

A Cloud and Precipitation Feature Database from Nine Years of TRMM Observations
journal, October 2008

  • Liu, Chuntao; Zipser, Edward J.; Cecil, Daniel J.
  • Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, Vol. 47, Issue 10
  • DOI: 10.1175/2008JAMC1890.1

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Sensor Package
journal, June 1998


The GOES-R Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM)
journal, May 2013


Efficient Monte Carlo Methods for Radiative Transfer Modeling
journal, September 2006

  • Iwabuchi, Hironobu
  • Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, Vol. 63, Issue 9
  • DOI: 10.1175/JAS3755.1