Characteristics of Lightning Flashes with Exceptional Illuminated Areas

M. J. Peterson and C. Liu

The largest flash observed by LIS

While most optical flashes observed by the Lighting Imaging Sensor (LIS) are small, short-lived, and relatively dim, there are a number of exceptional flashes that can be noted in the LIS dataset. This study examines extreme lightning events and identifies the regions of the globe and the types of storms that produce them. We also incorporate ground-based radio lightning measurements from the National Lightning Detection Network to gain a better perspective on the discharge unmodified by the clouds.

LIS and NLDN flashes are collocated with both pixel-level TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) and Precipitation Radar (PR) measurements (Illuminated Cloud Features – ICFs) as well Radar Precipitation Features (RPFs). Differences between land-based and oceanic lightning and in the diurnal cycles of exceptional flashes are noted. Correlations are also found between the sizes and energies of LIS flashes and NLDN flashes that suggest that despite radiative transfer concerns, LIS is still sensitive to the strength of the discharge.

Peterson, M. J. and C. Liu, 2013: Characteristics of Lightning Flashes with Exceptional Illuminated Areas, Durations, and Optical Powers and Surrounding Storm Properties in the Tropics and Inner Subtropics, J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 118, 11,727-11,740, doi: 10.1002/jgrd.50715