Total lightning as an indicator of convectively induced turbulence threat to aviation interests
Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Lawrence D. Carey
John R. Mecikalski
Eugene W. McCaul, Jr.
Thunderstorms., Atmospheric electricity., Lightning., Convection (Meteorology), Lightning protection., Airplanes--Lightning.
The FAA recommends that aircraft avoid thunderstorms by a minimum of 20 nautical miles horizontally. When this buffer is not maintained the chance of an aircraft experiencing turbulence is increased. The presence of lightning in a convective cell gives some indication of its turbulence potential so locations of lightning flash initiations are used to highlight updraft regions where convectively induced turbulence is generated. Data from the North Alabama Lightning Mapping Array (NALMA) serves as a proxy for Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) total lightning capability. GLM proxy data are used to investigate the impact of 8x8 km resolution on lightning-turbulence relationships. Distance between aircraft and flash initiations was found to be inversely correlated with turbulence occurrence and magnitude both in the immediate aircraft vicinity as well as at future positions in the aircraft flight path, which suggests lightning data's potential value as a turbulence avoidance tool for pilots and aviation dispatchers.
Rogers, Ryan, "Total lightning as an indicator of convectively induced turbulence threat to aviation interests" (2013). Theses. 3.