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Relationship between Lightning, Precipitation, and Environmental Characteristics at Mid-/high Latitudes from a GLM and GPM Perspective
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  • Lena Heuscher,
  • Chuntao Liu,
  • Patrick Gatlin,
  • Walter A. Petersen
Lena Heuscher
University of Alabama in Huntsville

Corresponding Author:lvh0002@uah.edu

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Chuntao Liu
Texas A&M Corpus Christi
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Patrick Gatlin
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
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Walter A. Petersen
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
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This study applies new satellite datasets and methodologies to build on previous research exploring the physical relationship between lightning and precipitation in mid-/high latitudes. Specifically, three years of Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) and Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Mission core satellite coincident observations are examined to investigate relationships between lightning flash rate and microwave characteristics of convective precipitation features (cPFs) over the Americas and surrounding oceans between ± 50° latitude. Mid-/high latitude cPFs with lightning are characterized by colder temperatures of maximum 30 dBz echo top height and a smaller range of microwave brightness temperatures when compared to the tropics. Brightness temperature characteristics of electrically active cPFs are highly correlated to radar-diagnosed ice mass and largely insensitive to synoptic-scale proxies for convective strength and organization. Low flash density cPFs tend to be more sensitive to synoptic-scale instability and shear than high flash density cPFs. Regional differences in the environmental forcing and characteristics of electrically active cPFs are shown. For example, the elevated terrain surrounding the Amazon River Basin is characterized by stronger vertical updrafts indicated by higher values of normalized CAPE (NCAPE) while the La Plata River Basin is characterized by both stronger updrafts and higher values of radar-diagnosed ice water mass.