Development of charge structure in a short live convective cell observed by a 3D lightning mapper and a phased array radar

Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Satoru Yoshida1, Toru Adachi1, Kenichi Kusunoki1, Ting Wu2, Tomoo Ushio3 and Eiichi Yoshikawa4, (1)Meteorological Research Institute, Ibaraki, Japan, (2)Osaka University, Suita, Japan, (3)Osaka University, Osaka, Japan, (4)Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Aeronautical Technology Directorate, Kanagawa, Japan
Thunderstorm observation has been conducted in Osaka, Japan, with a use of a 3D lightning mapper, called Broadband Observation network for Lightning and Thunderstorm (BOLT), and an X-band phased array radar (PAR). BOLT is a LF sensor network that receives LF emission associated with lightning discharges and locates LF radiation sources in 3D. PAR employs mechanical and electrical scans, respectively, in azimuthal and elevation direction, succeeding in quite high volume scan rate. In this presentation, we focus on lightning activity and charge structure in convective cells that lasted only short time (15 minutes or so). Thunderstorms that consisted of several convective cells developed near the radar site. Precipitation structure of a convective cell in the thunderstorm was clearly observed by PAR. A reflectivity core of the convective cell appeared at an altitude of 6 km at 2245 (JST). After that the core descended and reached the ground at 2256 (JST), resulting in heavy precipitation on surface. The echo top height (30dBZ) increased intermittently between 2245 (JST) and 2253 (JST) and it reached at the altitude of 12 km. The convective cell dissipated at 2300. Many intra-cloud (IC) flashes were initiated within the convective cell. Most IC flashes that were initiated in the convective cell occurred during the time when the echo top height increased, while a few IC flashes were initiated in the convective cell after the cease of the echo top vertical development. These facts indicate that strong updraft at upper levels (about 8 km or higher) plays an important role on thunderstorm electrification for IC flashes. Moreover, initiation altitudes of the IC flashes and the positive charge regions removed by the IC flashes increased, as the echo top height increased. This fact implies that the strong updraft at the upper levels blew up positively-charged ice pellets and negatively-charged graupel, and lifted IC flash initiation altitudes and positive charge regions. Previous observation results showed that positive charge regions sometimes moved upward in short time (about 5 minutes or so) in vigorous convective cells. Our observation results support the previous observation results and show that the rapid charge structure change was caused by strong updraft at upper levels in the convective cell.