Lightning Characteristics of Eastern Mediterranean Thunderstorms

Monday, 15 December 2014
Yoav Yair1,2, Yuval Ben-Ami3, Orit Altaratz3 and Ilan Koren3, (1)The Open University of Israel, Life and Natural Sciences, Ra'anana, Israel, (2)Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, Sustainability School, Herzliya, Israel, (3)Weizmann Institute of Science, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Rehovot, Israel
Lightning activity in the Eastern Mediterranean region occurs during the passage of cold fronts of Cyprus Lows (CL) and in less frequent events of Red Sea Trough (RST). The electrical activity takes place along the autumn (SON) and winter months (DJF). The seasonal distribution and synoptic distinction are important because they dictate differences in the thunderclouds macro- and microphysical properties and as a consequence determine their electrical activity.

We present analysis of ~185,000 lightning ground strokes detected by the Israeli Lightning Detection Network (operated by the Israeli Electrical Corporation) during CL and RST days along the period between October 2004 and December 2010. We find clear spatial and temporal differences in the numbers of strokes, peak current, stroke polarity and their diurnal cycle and in the spatial distributions between CL and RST synoptic settings. The differences are linked to the vertical development of thunderclouds under dissimilar thermodynamic and wind-shear conditions.