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Geographical and seasonal characteristics of the relationship between lightning ground flash density and rainfall within the continent of Australia

By Rohan Jayaratne and Yuriy Kuleshov

Abstract

Ground-based observations of annual rainfall and lightning incidence collected over periods\ud ranging from 9 to 22 years at 23 stations around the continent of Australia were used to compute\ud values of drain yieldT, defined as the mass of rain produced per lightning ground flash (units: kg\ud f l1) over a given area of ground. The rain yield was found to vary considerably with\ud geographical location, season and climatic conditions. Of the 23 stations, 5 were mid-continental\ud and these showed a mean rain yield of 2.64108 kg f l1 in contrast to the coastal and nearcoastal\ud stations that showed a corresponding mean value of 9.91108 kg f l1. The difference was\ud statistically significant at the confidence level of 95%. When the stations were classified according\ud to seasonal climate zones, the winter and winter-dominant rainfall stations showed a rain yield of\ud 1.28109 kg f l1 while the summer and summer-dominant rainfall stations showed a\ud significantly lower value of 5.44108 kg f l1. Again the difference was statistically significant\ud at the 95% confidence level. Every one of the 23 stations showed mean winter rain yields that\ud were significantly higher than the summer values. These differences are attributed to surface\ud heating which controls such parameters as cloud base height and convective available potential\ud energy in the atmosphere. In terms of the behaviour of the rain yield with geographical, seasonal\ud and climatic conditions, the Australian observations are in good agreement with studies in other\ud parts of the worl

Topics: 049999 Earth Sciences not elsewhere classified, Lightning, Rainfall, Ground flash, Rain yield
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2006
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.atmosres.2005.03.004
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.qut.edu.au:5781

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