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Title: Changes to the Appearance of Optical Lightning Flashes Observed From Space According to Thunderstorm Organization and Structure

Abstract

Optical lightning observations from space reveal a wide range of flash structure. Lightning imagers such as the Geostationary Lightning Mapper and Lightning Imaging Sensor measure flash appearance by recording transient changes in cloud top illumination. The spatial and temporal optical energy distributions reported by these instruments depend on the physical structure of the flash and the distribution of hydrometeors within the thundercloud that scatter and absorb the optical emissions. This study reported herein explores how flash appearance changes according to the scale and organization of the parent thunderstorms with a focus on mesoscale convective systems. Clouds near the storm edge are frequently illuminated by large optical flashes that remain stationary between groups. These flashes appear large because their emissions can reflect off the exposed surfaces of nearby clouds to reach the satellite. Large stationary flashes also occur in small isolated thunderstorms. Optical flashes that propagate horizontally, meanwhile, are most frequently observed in electrified stratiform regions where extensive layered charge structures promote lateral development. Highly radiant “superbolts” occur in two scenarios: embedded within raining stratiform regions or in nonraining boundary/anvil clouds where optical emissions can take a relatively clear path to the satellite.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS), College Park, MD (United States). Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR); Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD (United States). Satellite Climate Studies Branch
  3. Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD (United States). Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC), Cooperative Inst. for Climate and Satellites‐Maryland (CICS-MD)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA); National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA)
OSTI Identifier:
1601403
Report Number(s):
[LA-UR-19-24872]
[Journal ID: ISSN 2169-897X]
Grant/Contract Number:  
[89233218CNA000001; NNX17AH63G]
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Additional Journal Information:
[ Journal Volume: 125; Journal Issue: 4]; Journal ID: ISSN 2169-897X
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; earth sciences; thunderstorms; lightning; satellite remote sensing; NOAA; GOES; GLM

Citation Formats

Peterson, Michael Jay, Rudlosky, Scott, and Zhang, Daile. Changes to the Appearance of Optical Lightning Flashes Observed From Space According to Thunderstorm Organization and Structure. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. doi:10.1029/2019JD031087.
Peterson, Michael Jay, Rudlosky, Scott, & Zhang, Daile. Changes to the Appearance of Optical Lightning Flashes Observed From Space According to Thunderstorm Organization and Structure. United States. doi:10.1029/2019JD031087.
Peterson, Michael Jay, Rudlosky, Scott, and Zhang, Daile. Mon . "Changes to the Appearance of Optical Lightning Flashes Observed From Space According to Thunderstorm Organization and Structure". United States. doi:10.1029/2019JD031087.
@article{osti_1601403,
title = {Changes to the Appearance of Optical Lightning Flashes Observed From Space According to Thunderstorm Organization and Structure},
author = {Peterson, Michael Jay and Rudlosky, Scott and Zhang, Daile},
abstractNote = {Optical lightning observations from space reveal a wide range of flash structure. Lightning imagers such as the Geostationary Lightning Mapper and Lightning Imaging Sensor measure flash appearance by recording transient changes in cloud top illumination. The spatial and temporal optical energy distributions reported by these instruments depend on the physical structure of the flash and the distribution of hydrometeors within the thundercloud that scatter and absorb the optical emissions. This study reported herein explores how flash appearance changes according to the scale and organization of the parent thunderstorms with a focus on mesoscale convective systems. Clouds near the storm edge are frequently illuminated by large optical flashes that remain stationary between groups. These flashes appear large because their emissions can reflect off the exposed surfaces of nearby clouds to reach the satellite. Large stationary flashes also occur in small isolated thunderstorms. Optical flashes that propagate horizontally, meanwhile, are most frequently observed in electrified stratiform regions where extensive layered charge structures promote lateral development. Highly radiant “superbolts” occur in two scenarios: embedded within raining stratiform regions or in nonraining boundary/anvil clouds where optical emissions can take a relatively clear path to the satellite.},
doi = {10.1029/2019JD031087},
journal = {Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres},
number = [4],
volume = [125],
place = {United States},
year = {2020},
month = {2}
}

Journal Article:
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