A study of positive cloud-to-ground lightning flashes in mesoscale convective systems Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/ks65hg19p

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  • This study is mainly concentrated on examining the positive cloud-to-ground lightning activity associated with Mesoscale Convective Systems. Six MCS events which occurred during the O.K. PRE-STORM program in 1985 are studied. Data indicating the location and polarity of the cloud-to-ground lightning flashes from a lightning location network are analyzed in conjunction with the low-level echo patterns as obtained from radar. Spatial and temporal characteristics of positive cloud-to-ground flashes are identified from the data analysis. For all cases examined, positive cloud-to-ground flashes were found most commonly in the stratiform regions of the MCSs examined, and their frequency tended to peak during the later stages of the storm lifecycle. Two mechanisms responsible for the occurrence of positive cloud-to-ground lightning flashes with the above spatial and temporal characteristics are discussed. Based on the laboratory results, a 1-D charge generation model is developed. The model results show that in-situ charging is unlikely to be the dominant mechanism for charge generation in the stratiform region under normal atmospheric conditions. Sensitivity studies show, however, that in-situ charging processes strongly depend upon the liquid water, graupel and snow contents in the cloud. Under favorable atmospheric conditions, in-situ charging may lead to a significant charge generation. Hence, we cannot completely dismiss in-situ charging mechanism. Analysis of wind fields from dual-Doppler radar in combination with vertical profile of electric fields indicates that charge advection from the convective region to the stratiform region of MCSs may be a potential mechanism responsible for the occurrence of positive cloud-to-ground lightning flashes in the stratiform region.
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