Lightning and radar observations of hurricane Rita landfall

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Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) owns and operates an array of Very-Low Frequency (VLF) sensors that measure the Radio-Frequency (RF) waveforms emitted by Cloud-to-Ground (CG) and InCloud (IC) lightning. This array, the Los Alamos Sferic Array (LASA), has approximately 15 sensors concentrated in the Great Plains and Florida, which detect electric field changes in a bandwidth from 200 Hz to 500 kHz (Smith et al., 2002). Recently, LANL has begun development of a new dual-band RF sensor array that includes the Very-High Frequency (VHF) band as well as the VLF. Whereas VLF lightning emissions can be used to deduce physical ... continued below

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Henderson, Bradley G; Suszcynsky, David M; Hamlin, Timothy E; Jeffery, C A; Wiens, Kyle C & Orville, R E January 1, 2009.

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Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) owns and operates an array of Very-Low Frequency (VLF) sensors that measure the Radio-Frequency (RF) waveforms emitted by Cloud-to-Ground (CG) and InCloud (IC) lightning. This array, the Los Alamos Sferic Array (LASA), has approximately 15 sensors concentrated in the Great Plains and Florida, which detect electric field changes in a bandwidth from 200 Hz to 500 kHz (Smith et al., 2002). Recently, LANL has begun development of a new dual-band RF sensor array that includes the Very-High Frequency (VHF) band as well as the VLF. Whereas VLF lightning emissions can be used to deduce physical parameters such as lightning type and peak current, VHF emissions can be used to perform precise 3d mapping of individual radiation sources, which can number in the thousands for a typical CG flash. These new dual-band sensors will be used to monitor lightning activity in hurricanes in an effort to better predict intensification cycles. Although the new LANL dual-band array is not yet operational, we have begun initial work utilizing both VLF and VHF lightning data to monitor hurricane evolution. In this paper, we present the temporal evolution of Rita's landfall using VLF and VHF lightning data, and also WSR-88D radar. At landfall, Rita's northern eyewall experienced strong updrafts and significant lightning activity that appear to mark a transition between oceanic hurricane dynamics and continental thunderstorm dynamics. In section 2, we give a brief overview of Hurricane Rita, including its development as a hurricane and its lightning history. In the following section, we present WSR-88D data of Rita's landfall, including reflectivity images and temporal variation. In section 4, we present both VHF and VLF lightning data, overplotted on radar reflectivity images. Finally, we discuss our observations, including a comparison to previous studies and a brief conclusion.

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  • Report No.: LA-UR-09-00150
  • Report No.: LA-UR-09-150
  • Grant Number: AC52-06NA25396
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 956490
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc932727

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  • January 1, 2009

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  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Dec. 12, 2016, 12:17 p.m.

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Henderson, Bradley G; Suszcynsky, David M; Hamlin, Timothy E; Jeffery, C A; Wiens, Kyle C & Orville, R E. Lightning and radar observations of hurricane Rita landfall, article, January 1, 2009; [New Mexico]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc932727/: accessed May 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.