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  1. Abstract

    In this study we explored the environmental conditions hypothesized to induce a dominant charge structure in thunderstorms in the province of Cordoba, Argentina, during the RELAMPAGO‐CACTI (Remote sensing of Electrification, Lightning, And Mesoscale/microscale Processes with Adaptive Ground Observations‐Clouds, Aerosols, Complex Terrain Interactions) field campaigns. Hypothesized environmental conditions are thought to be related to small warm cloud residence time and warm rain growth suppression, which lead to high cloud liquid water contents in the mixed‐phase zone, contributing to positive charging of graupel and anomalous charge structure storms. Data from radiosondes, a cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) ground‐based instrument and reanalysis were used to characterize the proximity inflow air of storms with anomalous and normal charge structures. Consistent with the initial hypothesis, anomalous storms had small warm cloud depth caused by dry low‐level humidity and low 0°C height. Anomalous storms were associated with lower CCN concentrations than normal storms, an opposite result to the initial expectation. High CAPE is not an important condition for the development of anomalous storms in Argentina, as no clear pattern could be found among the different parameters calculated for updraft proxy that would be consistent with the initial hypothesis.

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  2. Abstract During November 2018–April 2019, an 11-station very high frequency (VHF) Lightning Mapping Array (LMA) was deployed to Córdoba Province, Argentina. The purpose of the LMA was validation of the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM), but the deployment was coordinated with two field campaigns. The LMA observed 2.9 million flashes (≥ five sources) during 163 days, and level-1 (VHF locations), level-2 (flashes classified), and level-3 (gridded products) datasets have been made public. The network’s performance allows scientifically useful analysis within 100 km when at least seven stations were active. Careful analysis beyond 100 km is also possible. The LMA dataset includes many examples of intense storms with extremely high flash rates (>1 s−1), electrical discharges in overshooting tops (OTs), as well as anomalously charged thunderstorms with low-altitude lightning. The modal flash altitude was 10 km, but many flashes occurred at very high altitude (15–20 km). There were also anomalous and stratiform flashes near 5–7 km in altitude. Most flashes were small (<50 km2 area). Comparisons with GLM on 14 and 20 December 2018 indicated that GLM most successfully detected larger flashes (i.e., more than 100 VHF sources), with detection efficiency (DE) up to 90%. However, GLM DE was reduced for flashes that were smaller or that occurred lower in the cloud (e.g., near 6-km altitude). GLM DE also was reduced during a period of OT electrical discharges. Overall, GLM DE was a strong function of thunderstorm evolution and the dominant characteristics of the lightning it produced. 
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  3. Abstract

    A new automated method to retrieve charge layer polarity from flashes, named Chargepol, is presented in this paper. Using data from the NASA Lightning Mapping Array (LMA) deployed during the Remote sensing of Electrification, Lightning, And Mesoscale/microscale Processes with Adaptive Ground Observations (RELAMPAGO) field campaign in Cordoba, Argentina, from November 2018 to April 2019, this method estimates the polarity of vertical charge distributions and their altitudes and thicknesses (or vertical depth) using the very‐high frequency (VHF) source emissions detected by LMAs. When this method is applied to LMA data for extended periods of time, it is capable of inferring a storm's bulk electrical charge structure throughout its life cycle. This method reliably predicted the polarity of charge within which lightning flashes propagated and was validated in comparison to methods that require manual assignment of polarities via visual inspection of VHF lightning sources. Examples of normal and anomalous charge structures retrieved using Chargepol for storms in Central Argentina during RELAMPAGO are presented for the first time. Application of Chargepol to five months of LMA data in Central Argentina and several locations in the United States allowed for the characterization of the charge structure in these regions and for a reliable comparison using the same methodology. About 13.3% of Cordoba thunderstorms were defined by an anomalous charge structure, slightly higher than in Oklahoma (12.5%) and West Texas (11.1%), higher than Alabama (7.3%), and considerably lower than in Colorado (82.6%). Some of the Cordoba anomalous thunderstorms presented enhanced low‐level positive charge, a feature rarely if ever observed in Colorado thunderstorms.

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  5. Abstract

    In an effort to improve our knowledge on the horizontal and vertical distribution of lightning initiation and propagation, ~500 multicells (producing a total of 72,619 flashes), 27 mesoscale convective systems (producing 214,417 flashes) and 23 supercells (producing 169,861 flashes) that occurred over northern Alabama and southern Tennessee were analyzed using data from the North Alabama Lightning Mapping Array and the Multi‐Radar Multi‐Sensor suite. From this analysis, two‐dimensional (2‐D) histograms of where flashes initiated and propagated relative to radar reflectivity and altitude were created for each storm type. The peak of the distributions occurred between 8.0 and 10.0 km (−24.0 to −38.5 °C) and between 30 and 35 dBZfor flashes that initiated within multicellular storms. For flashes that initiated within mesoscale convective systems, these peaks were 8.0–9.0 km (−27.1 to −34.6 °C) and 30–35 dBZ, respectively, and for supercells, they were 10.0–12.0 km (−42.6 to −58.1 °C) and 35–40 dBZ, respectively. The 2‐D histograms for the flash propagations were slightly different than for the flash initiations and showed that flashes propagated in lower reflectivities as compared to where they initiated. The 2‐D histograms were also compared to test cases; the root‐mean‐square errors and the Pearson product moment correlation coefficient (R) were calculated with several of the comparisons havingRvalues >0.7 while the root‐mean‐square errors were always ≤0.017 (≤10%), irrespective of storm type. Finally, the mean flash sizes for the multicell, mesoscale convective system, and supercell flashes were 8.3, 9.9, and 7.4 km, respectively.

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  6. Abstract

    Two dimensional (2‐D) histogram distributions of lightning flashes relative to radar reflectivity and altitude were created using a total of 41,180 intercloud/intracloud (IC) flashes, 3,326 cloud‐to‐ground (CG) flashes, and 4,349 hybrid (HY) flashes that originated in multicells; 111,479 IC flashes, 8,588 CG flashes, and 11,699 HY flashes that originated in mesoscale convective systems; and 91,283 IC flashes, 3,023 CG flashes, and 7,872 HY flashes that originated in supercells that occurred over northern Alabama and southern Tennessee. It was shown that although CG flashes initiate and propagate at the same altitude irrespective of storm type, IC flashes could have differences of up to 10 °C, while for HY flashes these differences increased to up to 20 °C relative to storm type. Further, IC, CG, and HY flashes propagated in lower reflectivities than where they initiated, while CG flashes initiated and propagated within higher reflectivities than IC and HY flashes. HY flashes were also twice as large as IC flashes and ~40% larger than CG flashes, and flashes that originated in mesoscale convective systems had larger overall sizes as compared to multicells and supercells. When comparing the new 2‐D histogram distributions to the legacy distributions used for the calculation of lightning‐produced nitrogen oxides (LNOx), it was shown that the new distributions perform much better, with higher Pearson product moment correlation coefficient values and much lower root‐mean‐square errors. These new distributions are thus more appropriate to use when modeling LNOx and will lead to more accurate LNOx estimations than using the legacy distributions.

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  7. null (Ed.)