An evaluation of lightning flash characteristics using LDAR and NLDN networks with warm season southeast Texas thunderstorms
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A comparison of flash parameters from the National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN) is made with data obtained from the Houston Lightning Detection and Ranging II (LDAR) network. This research focuses on relating the peak current and number of strokes in a negative flash (multiplicity) of lightning with the spatial extent and mean altitude of three-dimensional lightning in 1407 flashes as mapped by the LDAR network. It is shown that increasing negative multiplicities over the range two through ten exhibit, on average, a higher flash extent with higher multiplicities. Singlestroke flashes have mean heights of nearly 2 km greater. Higher order multiplicities (2 to 10+) were correlated with mean source heights near 8 km. Increasing multiplicity tends to be associated with greater flash extents increasing more horizontally than vertically with a 50% to 70% increase in flash extent. No obvious relationship between peak current and flash extent was observed. Examining peak current and mean height shows that low current flashes (<10kA) exhibit higher mean heights. However, this may be due to intra-cloud only flashes being reported as cloud to ground events by the NLDN. Bipolar flashes do not show much variation with height and flash extent with the exception of negative-first bipolar flashes, which exhibited mean flash extents twice that of other types. Finally, the flash detection efficiency is 99.7% within 60 km of the network center.
Jurecka, Joseph William (2008). An evaluation of lightning flash characteristics using LDAR and NLDN networks with warm season southeast Texas thunderstorms. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from