Electric Fields, Cloud Microphysics, and Reflectivity in Anvils of Florida Thunderstorms
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- A coordinated aircraft - radar project that investigated the electric fields, cloud microphysics and radar reflectivity of thunderstorm anvils near Kennedy Space Center is described. Measurements from two cases illustrate the extensive nature of the microphysics and electric field observations. As the aircraft flew from the edges of anvils into the interior, electric fields very frequently increased abruptly from approx.1 to >10 kV/m even though the particle concentrations and radar reflectivity increased smoothly. The abrupt increase in field usually occurred when the aircraft entered regions with a reflectivity of 10 to 15 dBZ. It is suggested that the abrupt increase in electric field may be because the charge advection from the storm core did not occur across the entire breadth of the anvil and was not constant in time. Screening layers were not detected near the edges of the anvils. Some long-lived anvils showed subsequent enhancement of electric field and reflectivity and growth of particles, which if localized, might be a factor in explaining the abrupt change of field in some cases. Comparisons of electric field magnitude with particle concentration or reflectivity for a combined data set that included all anvil measurements showed a threshold behavior. When the average reflectivity, such as in a 3-km cube, was less than approximately 5 dBZ, the electric field magnitude was <3 kV/m. Based on these findings, the Volume Averaged Height Integrated Radar Reflectivity (VAHIRR) is now being used by NASA, the Air Force and Federal Aviation Administration in new Lightning Launch Commit Criteria as a diagnostic for high electric fields in anvils.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20120003398. and KSC-2006-169.
- Copyright, Distribution as joint owner in the copyright.
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