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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: During its first three years, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite observed nearly six million precipitation features. The population of precipitation features is sorted by lightning flash rate, minimum brightness temperature, maximum radar reflectivity, areal extent, and volumetric rainfall. For each of these characteristics, essentially describing the convective intensity or the size of the features, the population is broken into categories consisting of the top 0.001%, top 0.01%, top 0.1%, top 1%, top 2.4%, and remaining 97.6%. The set of 'weakest / smallest' features comprises 97.6% of the population because that fraction does not have detected lightning, with a minimum detectable flash rate 0.7 fl/min. The greatest observed flash rate is 1351 fl/min; the lowest brightness temperatures are 42 K (85-GHz) and 69 K (37- GHz). The largest precipitation feature covers 335,000 sq km and the greatest rainfall from an individual precipitation feature exceeds 2 x 10(exp 12) kg of water. There is considerable overlap between the greatest storms according to different measures of convective intensity. The largest storms are mostly independent of the most intense storms. The set of storms producing the most rainfall is a convolution of the largest and the most intense storms. This analysis is a composite of the global tropics and subtropics. Significant variability is known to exist between locations, seasons, and meteorological regimes. Such variability will be examined in Part II. In Part I, only a crude land / Ocean separation is made. The known differences in bulk lightning flash rates over land and Ocean result from at least two differences in the precipitation feature population: the frequency of occurrence of intense storms, and the magnitude of those intense storms that do occur. Even when restricted to storms with the same brightness temperature, same size, or same radar reflectivity aloft, the storms over water are considerably less likely to produce lightning than are comparable storms over land.
    Keywords: Meteorology and Climatology
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2018-06-12
    Description: During its first three years, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite observed nearly six million precipitation features. The population of precipitation features is sorted by lightning flash rate, minimum brightness temperature, maximum radar reflectivity. areal extent, and volumetric rainfall. For each of these characteristics, essentially describing the convective intensity or the size of the features, the population is broken into categories consisting of the top 0.001%, top 0.01%, top 0.1%, top 1%, top 2.4%. and remaining 97.6%. The set of weakest/smallest features composes 97.6% of the population because that fraction does not have detected lightning, with a minimum detectable flash rate of 0.7 flashes (fl) per minute. The greatest observed flash rate is 1351 fl per minute; the lowest brightness temperatures are 42 K (85 GHz) and 69 K (37 GHz). The largest precipitation feature covers 335 000 square kilometers and the greatest rainfall from an individual precipitation feature exceeds 2 x 10 kg per hour of water. There is considerable overlap between the greatest storms according to different measures of convective intensity. The largest storms are mostly independent of the most intense storms. The set of storms producing the most rainfall is a convolution of the largest and the most intense storms. This analysis is a composite of the global Tropics and subtropics. Significant variability is known to exist between locations. seasons, and meteorological regimes. Such variability will be examined in Part II. In Part I, only a crude land-ocean separation is made. The known differences in bulk lightning flash rates over land and ocean result from at least two differences in the precipitation feature population: the frequency of occurrence of intense storms and the magnitude of those intense storms that do occur. Even when restricted to storms with the same brightness temperature, same size, or same radar reflectivity aloft, the storms over water are considerably less likely to produce lightning than are comparable storms over land.
    Keywords: Meteorology and Climatology
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2018-06-12
    Description: A taxonomy of tropical convective and stratiform vertical structures is constructed through cluster analysis of 3 yr of Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) "warm-season" (surface temperature greater than 10 C) precipitation radar (PR) vertical profiles, their surface rainfall, and associated radar-based classifiers (convective/ stratiform and brightband existence). Twenty-five archetypal profile types are identified, including nine convective types, eight stratiform types, two mixed types, and six anvil/fragment types (nonprecipitating anvils and sheared deep convective profiles). These profile types are then hierarchically clustered into 10 similar families, which can be further combined, providing an objective and physical reduction of the highly multivariate PR data space that retains vertical structure information. The taxonomy allows for description of any storm or local convective spectrum by the profile types or families. The analysis provides a quasi-independent corroboration of the TRMM 2A23 convective/ stratiform classification. The global frequency of occurrence and contribution to rainfall for the profile types are presented, demonstrating primary rainfall contribution by midlevel glaciated convection (27%) and similar depth decaying/stratiform stages (28%-31%). Profiles of these types exhibit similar 37- and 85-GHz passive microwave brightness temperatures but differ greatly in their frequency of occurrence and mean rain rates, underscoring the importance to passive microwave rain retrieval of convective/stratiform discrimination by other means, such as polarization or texture techniques, or incorporation of lightning observations. Close correspondence is found between deep convective profile frequency and annualized lightning production, and pixel-level lightning occurrence likelihood directly tracks the estimated mean ice water path within profile types.
    Keywords: Geophysics
    Type: Journal of Climate (ISSN 0894-8755); Volume 18; No. 14; 2744-2769
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  • 5
    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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  • 6
    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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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2004-12-03
    Description: Since April 1995, lightning activity around the globe has been monitored with the Optical Transient Detector (OTD). The OTD observations acquired during the one year period from September 1995 through August 1996 have been used to statistically determine the number of flashes that occur over the Earth during each hour of the diurnal cycle, expressed both as a function of local time and universal time. The globally averaged local [il,htnina activity displays a peak in late afternoon (1500-1800 local time) and a minimum in the morning hours (0600- 1000 local time) consistent with convection associated with diurnal heating. No diurnal variation is found for oceanic storms. The diurnal lightning distribution (universal time) for the globe displays a variation of about 35% about its mean as compared to the Carnegie curve which has a variation of only 15% above and below the mean.
    Keywords: Meteorology and Climatology
    Type: 11th International Conference on Atmospheric Electricity; 742-745; NASA/CP-1999-209261
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2011-08-24
    Description: A diagnostic analysis of the VVP (volume velocity processing) retrieval method is presented, with emphasis on understanding the technique as a linear, multivariate regression. Similarities and differences to the velocity-azimuth display and extended velocity-azimuth display retrieval techniques are discussed, using this framework. Conventional regression diagnostics are then employed to quantitatively determine situations in which the VVP technique is likely to fail. An algorithm for preparation and analysis of a robust VVP retrieval is developed and applied to synthetic and actual datasets with high temporal and spatial resolution. A fundamental (but quantifiable) limitation to some forms of VVP analysis is inadequate sampling dispersion in the n space of the multivariate regression, manifest as a collinearity between the basis functions of some fitted parameters. Such collinearity may be present either in the definition of these basis functions or in their realization in a given sampling configuration. This nonorthogonality may cause numerical instability, variance inflation (decrease in robustness), and increased sensitivity to bias from neglected wind components. It is shown that these effects prevent the application of VVP to small azimuthal sectors of data. The behavior of the VVP regression is further diagnosed over a wide range of sampling constraints, and reasonable sector limits are established.
    Keywords: METEOROLOGY AND CLIMATOLOGY
    Type: Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology (ISSN 0739-0572); 12; 2; p. 230-248
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2013-08-29
    Description: In the framework of the project POLINAT 2 (Pollution in the North Atlantic Flight Corridor) we measured NO(x) (NO and NO2) and ozone on 98 flights through the North Atlantic Flight Corridor (NAFC) with a fully automated system permanently installed aboard an in-service Swissair B-747 airliner in the period of August to November 1997. The averaged NO, concentrations both in the NAFC and at the U.S. east coast were similar to that measured in autumn 1995 with the same system. The patchy occurrence of NO(x), enhancements up to 3000 pptv over several hundred kilometers (plumes), predominately found over the U.S. east coast lead to a log-normal NO(x) probability density function. In three case-studies we examine the origins of such plumes by combining back-trajectories with brightness temperature enhanced (IR) satellite imagery, with lightning observations from the U.S. National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN) or with the Optical Transient Detector (OTD) satellite. For frontal activity above the continental U.S., we demonstrate that the location of NO(x) plumes can be well explained with maps of convective influence. For another case we show that the number of lightning flashes in a cluster of marine thunderstorms is proportional to the NO(x) concentrations observed several hundred kilometers downwind of the anvil outflows and suggest that lightning was the dominant source. From the fact that in autumn the NO, maximum was found several hundred kilometers off the U.S. east coast, it can be inferred that thunderstorms triggered over the warm Gulf Stream current are an important source for the regional upper tropospheric NO(x) budget in autumn.
    Keywords: Environment Pollution
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: It is widely held that identifiable 'convective regimes' exist in nature, although precise definitions of these are elusive. Examples include land / Ocean distinctions, break / monsoon beahvior, seasonal differences in the Amazon (SON vs DJF), etc. These regimes are often described by differences in the realized local convective spectra, and measured by various metrics of convective intensity, depth, areal coverage and rainfall amount. Objective regime identification may be valuable in several ways: regimes may serve as natural 'branch points' in satellite retrieval algorithms or data assimilation efforts; one example might be objective identification of regions that 'should' share a similar 2-R relationship. Similarly, objectively defined regimes may provide guidance on optimal siting of ground validation efforts. Objectively defined regimes could also serve as natural (rather than arbitrary geographic) domain 'controls' in studies of convective response to environmental forcing. Quantification of convective vertical structure has traditionally involved parametric study of prescribed quantities thought to be important to convective dynamics: maximum radar reflectivity, cloud top height, 30-35 dBZ echo top height, rain rate, etc. Individually, these parameters are somewhat deficient as their interpretation is often nonunique (the same metric value may signify different physics in different storm realizations). Individual metrics also fail to capture the coherence and interrelationships between vertical levels available in full 3-D radar datasets. An alternative approach is discovery of natural partitions of vertical structure in a globally representative dataset, or 'archetypal' reflectivity profiles. In this study, this is accomplished through cluster analysis of a very large sample (0[107) of TRMM-PR reflectivity columns. Once achieved, the rainconditional and unconditional 'mix' of archetypal profile types in a given location and/or season provides a description of the local convective spectrum which retains vertical structure information. A further cluster analysis of these 'mixes' can identify recurrent convective spectra. These are a first step towards objective identification of convective regimes, and towards answering the question: 'What are the most convectively similar locations in the world?'
    Keywords: Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
    Type: 31st Conference on Radar Meteorology; 6-12 Aug. 2003; Seattle, WA; United States
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