Lightning NOx Production and Transport in the 29 May 2012 DC3 case: A Modeling Study Using Radar Data Assimilation and a Branched Lightning Simulation.

Friday, 19 December 2014
Blake J Allen1,2, Edward R Mansell2 and Dan Betten1, (1)University of Oklahoma Norman Campus, Norman, OK, United States, (2)National Severe Storms Lab, Norman, OK, United States
Open questions exist regarding chemical transport by convection and the sensitivity of Lightning Nitrogen Oxide (LNOx) production to flash type (IC vs. CG), channel height, and channel length. To help answer these and other questions, the Deep Convective Clouds and Chemistry (DC3) field project was conducted during the spring of 2012. On 29 May 2012, observations of an Oklahoma supercell were collected by two mobile SMART-R radars, the mobile NOXP radar, multiple NEXRAD radars, the Oklahoma Lightning Mapping Array (LMA), and the NSF/NCAR HIAPER and NASA DC-8 aircraft. In this study, data from the mobile and NEXRAD radars are assimilated into the NSSL COMMAS model using the Ensemble Kalman Filter, beginning shortly after initiation of convection and ending when the aircraft made their final measurements of the storm's outflow. The model analyses produce a realistic representation of the kinematic character of the storm throughout this time period. COMMAS includes the NSSL multimoment microphysics, explicit cloud electrification, and a branched lightning discharge scheme, which is used to produce LNOx within the model via a method dependent upon air pressure and lightning channel length. Model results will be presented and compared to radar, lightning, and aircraft observations. Of particular importance, the vertical distribution of lightning, channel length of lightning, and LNOx production and transport in the model will be analyzed and compared to LMA observations and anvil-level outflow observations from the aircraft. In addition, to examine entrainment and detrainment of air by the storm and to provide a check on LNOx production and transport, trajectory analyses will be presented and the transport of inert trace gases such as carbon monoxide in the model will be analyzed and compared to aircraft measurements.