Assimilation of lightning data by nudging tropospheric water vapor and applications to numerical forecasts of convective events
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A lightning data assimilation technique is developed for use with observations from the World Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN). The technique nudges the water vapor mixing ratio toward saturation within 10 km of a lightning observation. This technique is applied to deterministic forecasts of convective events on 29 June 2012, 17 November 2013, and 19 April 2011 as well as an ensemble forecast of the 29 June 2012 event using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. Lightning data are assimilated over the first 3 hours of the forecasts, and the subsequent impact on forecast quality is evaluated. The nudged deterministic simulations for all events produce composite reflectivity fields that are closer to observations. For the ensemble forecasts of the 29 June 2012 event, the improvement in forecast quality from lightning assimilation is more subtle than for the deterministic forecasts, suggesting that the lightning assimilation may improve ensemble convective forecasts where conventional observations (e.g., aircraft, surface, radiosonde, satellite) are less dense or unavailable.
- Atmospheric sciences