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Small ice crystals and the climatology of lightning

Sherwood, SC; Phillips, Vaughan LU and Wettlaufer, JS (2006) In Geophysical Research Letters 33(5). p.05804-05804
Abstract
[1] Vigorous debate still surrounds the cloud electrification process and unexplained regional variations in lightning activity. Here, we show that climatological maxima in lightning activity are associated with small effective diameter D-e of ice crystals near cumulonimbus cloud tops. This relationship, unlike lightning's more well-known relationship with cloud top height, is consistent over land and ocean. Since multiple studies indicate that D-e is reduced by atmospheric aerosol, this relationship strengthens previous suggestions of a role for aerosols as well as dynamics in electrification. Moreover, the angular distribution of backscattered radiance shows that modest (similar to 10%) D-e decreases reflect large (similar to 2x)... (More)
[1] Vigorous debate still surrounds the cloud electrification process and unexplained regional variations in lightning activity. Here, we show that climatological maxima in lightning activity are associated with small effective diameter D-e of ice crystals near cumulonimbus cloud tops. This relationship, unlike lightning's more well-known relationship with cloud top height, is consistent over land and ocean. Since multiple studies indicate that D-e is reduced by atmospheric aerosol, this relationship strengthens previous suggestions of a role for aerosols as well as dynamics in electrification. Moreover, the angular distribution of backscattered radiance shows that modest (similar to 10%) D-e decreases reflect large (similar to 2x) increases in the number of small (< similar to 30 mu m) particles N, a finding supported by cloud model simulations. Both relationships provide an important new test of cloud microphysics and/or electrification models. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Geophysical Research Letters
volume
33
issue
5
pages
05804 - 05804
publisher
American Geophysical Union
external identifiers
  • wos:000236269100006
  • scopus:33646377880
ISSN
1944-8007
DOI
10.1029/2005GL025242
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
6586fba0-3e1a-4646-8705-054ce3dc4531 (old id 4587561)
date added to LUP
2014-08-15 10:08:49
date last changed
2019-11-05 03:17:21
@article{6586fba0-3e1a-4646-8705-054ce3dc4531,
  abstract     = {[1] Vigorous debate still surrounds the cloud electrification process and unexplained regional variations in lightning activity. Here, we show that climatological maxima in lightning activity are associated with small effective diameter D-e of ice crystals near cumulonimbus cloud tops. This relationship, unlike lightning's more well-known relationship with cloud top height, is consistent over land and ocean. Since multiple studies indicate that D-e is reduced by atmospheric aerosol, this relationship strengthens previous suggestions of a role for aerosols as well as dynamics in electrification. Moreover, the angular distribution of backscattered radiance shows that modest (similar to 10%) D-e decreases reflect large (similar to 2x) increases in the number of small (&lt; similar to 30 mu m) particles N, a finding supported by cloud model simulations. Both relationships provide an important new test of cloud microphysics and/or electrification models.},
  author       = {Sherwood, SC and Phillips, Vaughan and Wettlaufer, JS},
  issn         = {1944-8007},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {5},
  pages        = {05804--05804},
  publisher    = {American Geophysical Union},
  series       = {Geophysical Research Letters},
  title        = {Small ice crystals and the climatology of lightning},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2005GL025242},
  volume       = {33},
  year         = {2006},
}