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A Total Lightning Trending Algorithm to Identify Severe Thunderstorms

Author:
Gatlin, Patrick N.   Goodman, Steven J.  


Journal:
Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology


Issue Date:
2010


Abstract(summary):

An algorithm that provides an early indication of impending severe weather from observed trends in thunderstorm total lightning flash rates has been developed. The algorithm framework has been tested on 20 thunderstorms, including 1 nonsevere storm, which occurred over the course of six separate days during the spring months of 2002 and 2003. The identified surges in lightning rate (or jumps) are compared against 110 documented severe weather events produced by these thunderstorms as they moved across portions of northern Alabama and southern Tennessee. Lightning jumps precede 90% of these severe weather events, with as much as a 27-min advance notification of impending severe weather on the ground. However, 37% of lightning jumps are not followed by severe weather reports. Various configurations of the algorithm are tested, and the highest critical success index attained is 0.49. Results suggest that this lightning jump algorithm may be a useful operational diagnostic tool for severe thunderstorm potential.


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