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Automated thunderstorm tracking: utilization of three-dimensional lightning and radar data

Meyer, Vera and Höller, Hartmut and Betz, Hans-Dieter (2013) Automated thunderstorm tracking: utilization of three-dimensional lightning and radar data. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 13, pp. 5137-5150. Copernicus Publications. DOI: [10.5194/acp-13-5137-2013] ISSN 1680-7316


Official URL: http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/13/5137/2013/acp-13-5137-2013.html


This paper presents a new hybrid method for automated thunderstorm observation by tracking and monitoring of electrically charged cells (ec-TRAM). The developed algorithm combines information about intense ground precipitation derived from low-level radar-reflectivity scans with three-dimensionally resolved lightning data, which are provided by the European VLF/LF lightning detection network LINET. Based on the already existing automated radar tracker rad-TRAM (Kober and Tafferner, 2009), the new method li-TRAM identifies and tracks electrically active regions in thunderclouds using lightning data only. The algorithm ec-TRAM uses the output of the two autonomously operating routines rad-TRAM and li-TRAM in order to assess, track, and monitor a more comprehensive picture of thunderstorms. The main motivation of this work is to assess the benefit of three-dimensionally resolved total lightning (TL) information for thunderstorm tracking and monitoring. The focus is laid on the temporal development whereby TL is characterized by an effective in-cloud (IC) and cloud-to-ground (CG) event discrimination. It is found that the algorithms li-TRAM and ec-TRAM are both feasible methods for thunderstorm monitoring with potential for nowcasting. The tracking performance of li-TRAM turns out to be comparable to that of rad-TRAM, a result that strongly encourages utilization of lightning data as independent data source for thunderstorm tracking. It is found that lightning data allow an accurate and close monitoring of storm regions with intense internal dynamics as soon as convection induces electrical activity. A case study shows that the current short-term storm dynamics are clearly reflected in the amount of strokes, change of stroke rates and IC/CG ratio. The hybrid method ec-TRAM outperforms rad-TRAM and li-TRAM regarding reliability and continuous assessment of storm tracks especially in more complexly developing storms, where the use of discharge information contributes to more detailed information about storm stage and storm evolution.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/85712/
Document Type:Article
Title:Automated thunderstorm tracking: utilization of three-dimensional lightning and radar data
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Journal or Publication Title:Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :[10.5194/acp-13-5137-2013]
Page Range:pp. 5137-5150
Publisher:Copernicus Publications
Keywords:Thunderstorm, Lightning, Nowcasting, Radar
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics
HGF - Program Themes:L VU - Air Traffic and Environment (old)
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L VU - Air Traffic and Environment
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Air Traffic and Weather (old)
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Atmospheric Physics > Cloud Physics and Traffic Meteorology
Deposited By: Höller, Dr.rer.nat. Hartmut
Deposited On:27 Nov 2013 09:59
Last Modified:02 May 2019 14:04

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