Environmental Analysis of Convective Initiation Events in Central Florida using Integrated Mobile Observation
PI Shawn Milrad
PI Daniel Halperin
This research collaboration with the National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Office Tampa Bay aims to develop an ingredients-based methodology to help improve forecasts of first-strike cloud-to-ground lightning strikes in summer thunderstorms across Central Florida. Results will be used to construct a new forecast tool that will aid NWS forecasters in protecting the region’s life and property from these dangerous lightning events.
Lightning is a major hazard to life and property in Florida and annually leads the nation in lightning strikes and fatalities. The proposed research collaboration with the National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Office Tampa Bay aims to develop an ingredients-based methodology to help forecast first strike cloud-to-ground lightning strikes in warm-season thunderstorms across Central Florida. A comprehensive environmental analysis of these convective initiation events is being performed using numerous observational datasets, including mobile radar and surface observations from recent ERAU field courses and campaigns. The environmental analysis will examine first-strike events across the eight large-scale flow regimes previously identified by NWS Tampa Bay. A particular focus is placed on events that occurred during four weeks of ERAU field courses/campaigns in 2015 and 2018, allowing for the unique integration of mobile observations. Results are being used to construct a new forecast tool integrated with existing radar- and satellite-based lightning tools, to improve first-strike alert lead times. Also, the proposed project has established a fruitful collaborative research relationship between ERAU and NWS Tampa Bay while providing research experience and training for several ERAU undergraduate meteorology majors. These undergraduate students have completed much of the work on the project and have gotten to interact with NWS Tampa Bay personnel. It is expected that this project will also stimulate future more significant research collaborations between ERAU Meteorology and regional NWS forecast offices.
12/01/2019 to 11/30/2021