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Physics Colloquium: Thunderstorm Electrification, Lightning Flash Rates, and the RELAMPAGO Field Campaign

October 23 @ 4:00 pm

Robert A. Marshall

University of Colorado @ Boulder

Ann & HJ Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences

Abstract:  Severe thunderstorms that produce intense lightning, large hail, heavy precipitation, strong winds, or tornadoes are a significant public safety hazard and can also cause costly property damage. However, our understanding of the processes that lead to such severe weather is incomplete, including processes related to its pre-initiation, initiation, and subsequent convective development including growth and decay stages. This includes processes that control storm electrification and lightning production in such thunderstorms. The RELAMPAGO field campaign aims to address these deficiencies in our understanding through comprehensive measurements of thunderstorm development.

The Remote sensing of Electrification, Lightning, And Mesoscale/microscale Processes with Adaptive Ground Observations (RELAMPAGO) field campaign will take place from November 1 to December 18, 2018, in west central Argentina. The regions of interest exhibit some of the most intense convection in the world and have the highest lightning flash rates per storm in the world. CU Boulder will deploy an array of 8-10 electric field mills (EFMs) and four low-frequency (LF) radio receivers to investigate thunderstorm electrification and lightning flash rates. Collaborating institutions will operate electric Field Change Meters (FCMs), a Lightning Mapping Array (LMA), and other meteorological equipment. Thunderstorms will be measured using C-band doppler radars and S-band dual polarization radars. Together, these measurements will provide a comprehensive picture of the thunderstorms in these regions. 

In this talk, I will present an overview of the RELAMPAGO lightning observations and operations and how these measurements will be used to improve our understanding of thunderstorm development. I will further describe the electric field mills and LF receivers that we have developed for this project, and the physics-based models that will be used to interpret the data. 


Berthoud Hall 241


October 23
4:00 pm
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Berthoud Hall
1516 Illinois St.
Golden, CO 80401 United States
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