Can Counting Lightning Flashes in Hot Towers Predict Hurricane Formation?
Session 16D, Tropical Cyclone Lightning: Observation and Intensity Change 10:15 AM-12:00 PM, Tucson Salon A-C, Presentation 16 D.5 Cloud clusters with more convection are thought to be more likely to become hurricanes. The tall cumulonimbus clouds called “hot towers” have deep convection and are associated with the most intense hurricanes. University of Arizona researchers combined information from the National Lightning Detection Network with infrared images from satellites to count lightning strike rates in storms over the eastern Pacific Ocean. The team found that cloud clusters with a higher rate of lightning strikes are more likely to develop into hurricanes. Because lightning requires convection, the researchers are now testing whether the rate of lightning strikes in ocean thunderstorms can tell which storms will become hurricanes. Lesley Leary and Elizabeth Ritchie of the University of Arizona’s department of atmospheric sciences.
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