Analysis of Lightning Field Changes Produced by Florida Thunderstorms.
An interactive computer program has been developed to compute accurate values of lightning-caused changes in the cloud electric field (DeltaE). The DeltaE's for individual discharges in eight Florida thunderstorms have been analyzed using a nonlinear, least-squares minimization procedure and point charge (Q) and point, dipole (P) models of the change in cloud charge. The results indicate that the temporal and spatial behavior of the Q- and P- model parameters are similar to those reported previously by Koshak and Krider (1989). In all storms, the high altitude P-vectors tend to point downward toward a narrow altitude band of Q-solutions that is centered at about 8 km; low altitude P-vectors tend to point upward toward the Q-region, and the P-vectors that are at the same altitude as the Q-solutions tend to be horizontal. Because there are inherent limitations in the above least-squares analysis method and models, a new, fundamentally different approach for analyzing lightning field changes has been developed. This method finds an optimum volume charge distribution on a grid of finite dimensions and resolution. With this linear approach, we now have the ability to describe complex field change patterns subject to a variety of external constraints. We also have a framework in which a standard eigenanalysis can be used to access the general information content of data and the effects of measurement errors. Tests of the linear method with simulated lightning sources show that a centroid of the lightning charge distribution can be retrieved to within the grid resolution (2 km) when a Landweber iterative algorithm is used. Tests on three natural lightning events show that there is good agreement with previous Q- and P-model solutions and a reasonable result for one event that could not be described with either a Q- or a P-model.
- Pub Date:
- January 1990
- Physics: Atmospheric Science