The objectives of this collaborative project are to improve the understanding and prediction of prolific lightning events in central North Carolina using traditional as well as emerging observational and numerical modeling techniques. Lightning poses a hazard to the general public as well as to commercial interests; accurate daily lightning forecasts could be utilized to advantage by the aviation, energy, fire weather, and recreational sectors. Outlooks for expected prolific lightning events, defined as days with regional cumulative cloud-to-ground discharge count in the top 5% of all lightning days, would be useful to all of these groups, and could serve to directly reduce lightning-related losses. Furthermore, an improved understanding of patterns favoring lightning production would help prepare operational forecasters for the new lightning detection capabilities arriving with GOES-R by striving to bridge the gap between forecasting and warning operations.
To accomplish these objectives, researchers will focus on three tasks:
(a) Provide a detailed classification of the synoptic patterns accompanying prolific lightning events in central North Carolina.
(b) Extend incorporation of remotely-sensed convection and lightning products into both climatological and real-time lightning forecast activities,.
(c) Evaluate routinely produced model-derived lightning products for central NC lightning events.