The intense heating of air by a lightning channel, and subsequent rapid cooling, leads to the production of lightning nitrogen oxides (NOx = NO + NO2) as discussed in Chameides . In turn, the lightning nitrogen oxides (or "LNOx" for brevity) indirectly influences the Earth's climate because the LNOx molecules are important in controlling the concentration of ozone (O3) and hydroxyl radicals (OH) in the atmosphere. Climate is most sensitive to O3 in the upper troposphere, and LNOx is the most important source of NOx in the upper troposphere at tropical and subtropical latitudes; hence, lightning is a useful parameter to monitor for climate assessments. The National Climate Assessment (NCA) program was created in response to the Congressionally-mandated Global Change Research Act (GCRA) of 1990. Thirteen US government organizations participate in the NCA program which examines the effects of global change on the natural environment, human health and welfare, energy production and use, land and water resources, human social systems, transportation, agriculture, and biological diversity. The NCA focuses on natural and human-induced trends in global change, and projects major trends 25 to 100 years out. In support of the NCA, the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) continues to assess lightning-climate inter-relationships. This activity applies a variety of NASA assets to monitor in detail the changes in both the characteristics of ground- and space- based lightning observations as they pertain to changes in climate. In particular, changes in lightning characteristics over the conterminous US (CONUS) continue to be examined by this author using data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission Lightning Imaging Sensor. In this study, preliminary estimates of LNOx trends derived from TRMM/LIS lightning optical energy observations in the 17 yr period 1998-2014 are provided. This represents an important first step in testing the ability to make remote retrievals of LNOx from a satellite-based lightning sensor. As is shown, the methodology can also be directly applied to more recently launched lightning mappers, such as the Geostationary Lightning Mapper, and the International Space Station LIS.
Meteorology and Climatology; Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
Annual Community Modeling and Analysis System (CMAS) Conference; 23-25 Oct. 2017; Chapel Hill, NC; United States