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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2018-06-12
    Description: We describe the clustering algorithm used by the Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS) and the Optical Transient Detector (OTD) for combining the lightning pulse data into events, groups, flashes, and areas. Events are single pixels that exceed the LIS/OTD background level during a single frame (2 ms). Groups are clusters of events that occur within the same frame and in adjacent pixels. Flashes are clusters of groups that occur within 330 ms and either 5.5 km (for LIS) or 16.5 km (for OTD) of each other. Areas are clusters of flashes that occur within 16.5 km of each other. Many investigators are utilizing the LIS/OTD flash data; therefore, we test how variations in the algorithms for the event group and group-flash clustering affect the flash count for a subset of the LIS data. We divided the subset into areas with low (1-3), medium (4-15), high (16-63), and very high (64+) flashes to see how changes in the clustering parameters affect the flash rates in these different sizes of areas. We found that as long as the cluster parameters are within about a factor of two of the current values, the flash counts do not change by more than about 20%. Therefore, the flash clustering algorithm used by the LIS and OTD sensors create flash rates that are relatively insensitive to reasonable variations in the clustering algorithms.
    Keywords: Meteorology and Climatology
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2018-06-12
    Description: The recently reprocessed (1997-2006) OTD/LIS database is used to investigate the global lightning climatology in response to the ENSO cycle. A linear correlation map between lightning anomalies and ENSO (NINO3.4) identifies areas that generally follow patterns similar to precipitation anomalies. We also observed areas where significant lightning/ENSO correlations are found and are not accompanied of significant precipitation/ENSO correlations. An extreme case of the strong decoupling between lightning and precipitation is observed over the Indonesian peninsula (Sumatra) where positive lightning/NINO3.4 correlations are collocated with negative precipitation/NINO3.4 correlations. Evidence of linear relationships between the spatial extent of thunderstorm distribution and the respective NINO3.4 magnitude are presented for different regions on the Earth. Strong coupling is found over areas remote to the main ENSO axis of influence and both during warm and cold ENSO phases. Most of the resulted relationships agree with the tendencies of precipitation related to ENSO empirical maps or documented teleconnection patterns. Over the Australian continent, opposite behavior in terms of thunderstorm activity is noted for warm ENSO phases with NINO3.4 magnitudes with NINO3.4〉+l.08 and 0〈NqNO3.4〈I.08. Finally, we investigate the spatial distribution of areas that consistently portrayed enhanced lightning activity during the main warm/cold (El Nino/La Nina) ENSO episodes of the past decade. The observed patterns show no spatial overlapping and identify areas that in their majority are in agreement with empirical precipitation/ENSO maps. The areas that appear during the warm ENSO phase are found over regions that have been identified as anomalous Hadley circulation ENSO-related patterns. The areas that appear during the cold ENSO phase are found predominantly around the west hemisphere equatorial belt and are in their majority identified by anomalous Walker circulation.
    Keywords: Meteorology and Climatology
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2018-06-12
    Description: During the 1998 and 2001 hurricane seasons of the western Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, the Advanced Microwave Precipitation Radiometer (AMPR), the ER-2 Doppler (EDOP) radar, and the Lightning Instrument Package (LIP) were flown aboard the NASA ER-2 high-altitude aircraft as part of the Third Convection and Moisture Experiment (CAMEX-3) and the Fourth Convection and Moisture Experiment (CAMEX-4). Several hurricanes, tropical storms, and other precipitation systems were sampled during these experiments. An oceanic rainfall screening technique has been developed using AMPR passive microwave observations of these systems collected at frequencies of 10.7, 19.35, 37.1, and 85.5 GHz. This technique combines the information content of the four AMPR frequencies regarding the gross vertical structure of hydrometeors into an intuitive and easily executable precipitation mapping format. The results have been verified using vertical profiles of EDOP reflectivity and lower-altitude horizontal reflectivity scans collected by the NOAA WP3D Orion radar. Matching the rainfall classification results with coincident electric field information collected by the LIP readily identifies convective rain regions within the precipitation fields. This technique shows promise as a real-time research and analysis tool for monitoring vertical updraft strength and convective intensity from airborne platforms such as remotely operated or uninhabited aerial vehicles. The technique is analyzed and discussed for a wide variety of precipitation types using the 26 August 1998 observations of Hurricane Bonnie near landfall.
    Keywords: Oceanography
    Type: Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences; Volume 63; 218-233
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2013-08-31
    Description: An examination and preliminary analysis of video images of thunderstorms as seen by a payload bay TV camera of the Space Shuttle provided examples of lightning in the stratosphere above thunderstorms. These images were obtained on several recent Shuttle flights while conducting the Mesoscale Lightning Experiment (MLE). MLE was an experiment to obtain night time images from space of large storm complexes with lightning. These images are used to provide data for the design of specialized instrumentation which will provide quantitative measurements of global lightning. Eight video sequences were selected because they illustrate near vertical discharges in the stratosphere above thunderstorms. Although there are previous reports in the literature, these are the first images from the viewpoint of an orbiting spacecraft. The written material is primarily a companion to a video presentation.
    Keywords: METEOROLOGY AND CLIMATOLOGY
    Type: NASA. Kennedy Space Center, The 1991 International Aerospace and Ground Conference on Lightning and Static Electricity, Volume 2; 9 p
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2013-08-31
    Description: The global lightning signatures were analyzed from the DMSP Optical Linescan System (OLS) imagery archived at the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Transition to analysis of the digital archive becomes available and compare annual, interannual, and seasonal variations with other global data sets. An initial survey of the quality of the existing film archive was completed and lightning signatures were digitized for the summer months of 1986 to 1987. The relationship is studied between: (1) global and regional lightning activity and rainfall, and (2) storm electrical development and environment. Remote sensing data sets obtained from field programs are used in conjunction with satellite/radar/lightning data to develop and improve precipitation estimation algorithms, and to provide a better understanding of the co-evolving electrical, microphysical, and dynamical structure of storms.
    Keywords: METEOROLOGY AND CLIMATOLOGY
    Type: NASA(MSFC FY91 Global Scale Atmospheric Processes Research Program Review; p 19-20
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2013-08-31
    Description: This activity focuses on Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS)/Lightning Mapper Sensor (LMS) algorithm development and applied research. Specifically we are exploring the relationships between (1) global and regional lightning activity and rainfall, and (2) storm electrical development, physics, and the role of the environment. U.S. composite radar-rainfall maps and ground strike lightning maps are used to understand lightning-rainfall relationships at the regional scale. These observations are then compared to SSM/I brightness temperatures to simulate LIS/TRMM multi-sensor algorithm data sets. These data sets are supplied to the WETNET project archive. WSR88-D (NEXRAD) data are also used as it becomes available. The results of this study allow us to examine the information content from lightning imaging sensors in low-earth and geostationary orbits. Analysis of tropical and U.S. data sets continues. A neural network/sensor fusion algorithm is being refined for objectively associating lightning and rainfall with their parent storm systems. Total lightning data from interferometers are being used in conjunction with data from the national lightning network. A 6-year lightning/rainfall climatology has been assembled for LIS sampling studies.
    Keywords: METEOROLOGY AND CLIMATOLOGY
    Type: NASA(MSFC FY92 Earth Science and Applications Program Research Review; p 59
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2016-03-09
    Description: A method is described for determining the return stroke polarity of distant lightning for distances beyond 600 km by detecting the electric field associated with a return stroke of distant lightning, and processing the electric field signal to determine the polarity of the slow tail of the VLF waveform signal associated with the detected electric field. The polarity of the return stroke of distant lightning is determined based upon the polarity of the slow tail portion of the waveform.
    Keywords: METEOROLOGY AND CLIMATOLOGY
    Type: NAS 1.71:MFS-26102-1-CU
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2016-03-10
    Description: A method is described for determining the return stroke polarity of distant lightning for distances beyond 600 km by detecting the electric field associated with a return stroke of distant lightning, and processing the electric field signal to determine the polarity of the slow tail of the VLF waveform signal associated with the detected electric field. The polarity of the return stroke of distant lightning is determined based upon the polarity of the slow tail portion of the waveform.
    Keywords: METEOROLOGY AND CLIMATOLOGY
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2004-12-03
    Description: The Optical Transient Detector (OTD) is a space-based instrument specifically designed to detect and locate lightning discharges (intracloud and cloud-to-ground) as it orbits the Earth. A statistical examination of OTD lightning data reveals that nearly 1.2 billion flashes occurred over the entire earth during the one year period from September 1995 through August 1996. This translates to an average of 37 lightning flashes occurring around the globe every second, which is well below the traditional estimate of 100 flashes per second. An average of 75% of the global lightning activity during the year occurs between 30' S and 30' N. An analysis of the annual lightning distribution reveals that an average of 82% of the lightning flashes occur over the continents and 18% over the oceans, which translates to an average land-ocean flash density ratio of nearly 11.
    Keywords: Meteorology and Climatology
    Type: 11th International Conference on Atmospheric Electricity; 726-729; NASA/CP-1999-209261
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2004-12-03
    Description: The Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS) is a NASA Earth Observing System (EOS) instrument on the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) platform designed to acquire and investigate the distribution and variability of total lightning (i.e., cloud-to-ground and intracloud) between q35' in latitude. Since lightning is one of the responses of the atmosphere to thermodynamic and dynamic forcing, the LIS data is being used to detect deep convection without land-ocean bias, estimate the precipitation mass in the mixed phased region of thunderclouds, and differentiate storms with strong updrafts from those with weak vertical motion.
    Keywords: Meteorology and Climatology
    Type: 11th International Conference on Atmospheric Electricity; 746-749; NASA/CP-1999-209261
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