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Vertical distributions of lightning sources and flashes over Kennedy Space...

Hansen, A. E., H. Fuelberg, and K. E. Pickering (2010), Vertical distributions of lightning sources and flashes over Kennedy Space Center, Florida, J. Geophys. Res., 115, D14203, doi:10.1029/2009JD013143.

Warm season vertical distributions of lightning sources and flash segments are presented using data from the lightning detection and ranging network at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. We emphasize the percentage of sources/flash segments at each level compared to the vertical total and present the distributions as a function of storm top above ground level (AGL). The vertical profiles of sources and flash segments are compared with each other and with those from previous studies. Results indicate that storms with tops higher than ∼10 km AGL often have a bimodal or multiple peak distribution of percentage sources and flash segments. However, distributions for storms with tops lower than ∼10 km AGL exhibit only a single dominant peak. Temporal variations in the vertical distributions of flash percentages are examined for four clusters of storms occurring on different days. Results reveal considerable storm‐to‐storm and intrastorm variability. However, two similarities are observed between the four cases: (1) maximum flash density (flash segments km−3) occurs as the maximum storm top is reached and (2) as the storms increase in intensity, both maximum flash density and flash segment percentage increase in altitude, and then both decrease in altitude as the storms decay. The distributions are useful for understanding lightning characteristics as a function of storm evolution, specifying the vertical distribution of lightning‐produced nitrogen oxides in chemical transport models and verifying model‐simulated lightning.

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Tropospheric Composition Program (TCP)