Continuous lightning monitoring from a long-range receivers network: Applications on satellite precipitation estimation and quantitative precipitation forecasting

Date of Completion

January 2004


Geophysics|Hydrology|Physics, Atmospheric Science|Remote Sensing




This Ph.D. dissertation focuses on applications of regional lightning observations in quantitative rainfall estimation and short-term forecasting. Lightning is a physical phenomenon primarily related to convective ice-based precipitation processes and vigorous vertical motion. Contrary to precipitation and other meteorological parameters, the measurement of lightning intensity is achievable with high accuracy and resolution at regional to global scale. This study has three major objectives: (1) Research focused on the error modeling of a lightning-excited propagating signal (wave) in the VLF bandwidth. Validation is based on a long-range (up to 10,000 km) lightning detection network installed in Europe (Zeus). A methodology is investigated for reducing the location error on the basis of a physical model of the signal propagation velocity and path. (2) The second task addresses the problem of advancing high-frequency satellite rainfall estimation using continuous regional lightning information combined with Infra Red and Microwave satellite imagery. (3) The last objective is to investigate a technique for continuous assimilation of regional lightning measurements into a mesoscale meteorological model. The study seeks to determine the degree of improvement and the longest lead-time that lightning information alone can offer to improved model forecasts. ^