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A study targets thunderstorms in Alabama, Colorado and Oklahoma to discover what happens when clouds suck air miles into the atmosphere from Earth’s surface.
Scientists are targeting thunderstorms in Alabama, Colorado and Oklahoma this spring to discover what happens when clouds suck air many miles into the atmosphere from Earth’s surface.
Scientists will use three research aircraft, mobile radars, lightning mapping arrays and other tools to pull together a comprehensive picture.
We tend to associate thunderstorms with heavy rain and lightning, but they also shake things up at the top of the cloud level. Their effects high in the atmosphere in turn have effects on climate that last long after the storm dissipates. The DC3 project will take a comprehensive look at both chemistry and thunderstorm details, including air movement, cloud physics and electrical activity. One of the key goals of DC3 is exploring the role of thunderstorms in forming upper-atmosphere ozone, a greenhouse gas that has a strong warming effect high in the atmosphere.
Suddenly you have an airmass at high altitude that’s full of chemicals that can produce ozone.
Ozone in the upper atmosphere plays an important role in climate change by trapping significant amounts of energy from the sun. However, ozone is difficult to track because, unlike most greenhouse gases, it is not directly emitted by either pollution sources or natural processes. These interactions are well understood at the Earth’s surface, but have not been measured at the top of the troposphere, the lowest layer of the atmosphere just below the stratosphere. The polluted airmasses don’t keep rising indefinitely because of the barrier between the troposphere and stratosphere, called the tropopause. The DC3 investigators are looking at three widely separated sites in northern Alabama, northeastern Colorado, and central Oklahoma to west Texas. The more different regions we can study, the more we can understand how thunderstorms affect our climate. Thunderstorm, also called an electrical storm or a lightning storm, is a storm containing lightning as well as thunder normally caused due to unstable atmospheric conditions. When lightning strikes sand, silica in the sand melts to form long, hollow glass tubes called fulgurites. A thunderstorm is also referred to as an electrical storm, due to the presence of lightning and thunder during the manifestation of the natural phenomenon. Relmpago del Catatumbo is the Spanish name for Catatumbo Lightning, a phenomenon occurring over lake Maracaibo in northern Venezuela, where lightning strikes more frequently than anywhere else on Earth. Hail, being larger in size than sleet or ice pellets, is formed by the accumulation of layers of freezing water in the clouds. Lightning is one of the most common natural phenomena that instantly seems to cause destruction, the moment it hits something. Ball lightning is a phenomenon of atmospheric electrical activity associated with thunderstorms. The natural phenomenon of lightning that appears in a zigzag pattern in the sky has intrigued people across the globe for centuries together.
Lightning and thunder are considered the most common natural occurrences in the world, so the fact that we know very little about their causes is quite surprising in itself. A Maryland man was recently electrocuted and killed when a lightning bolt struck water near where he was riding his jet ski. The following article provides detailed information regarding the numerous types of lightning bolts. Hi Frank, when it comes to capturing the sound of thunderstorms, what are the best conditions to record in? Sitting in my living room having a Single Malt Scotch with the microphones outdoors recording.
I have recorded countless storms over the last 15 years and many of them have produced amazing and different sounding thunder.
I try to be very aware of where the storm is while recording and make sure that during the highest activity that I’m indoors and not in contact with the gear. It all starts with checking the forecast for the week during the active thunder storm season.
Equipment at the ready, waiting for the stormWhen I have enough time before the storm arrives I set up two Sennheiser MKH-8040ST microphone sets, one XY and the other ORTF. Given that you can’t plan when a thunderstorm rolls in, doing a library like this must be a long-term process? I’ve had two actually and they both involve very close lightning strikes and hand held portable recorders. Are you done with thunderstorm libraries, or do you think you’ll be doing more in the future? I am sure there will be more in the future as long as the storms keep coming and I am able to set up the gear and record. Check out the demo of the new Thunderstorm 3 sound effect library below – and get early-access to a special beta version (and save money in the process) right here!
The March-April edition of WeatherWise magazine has an interesting article in it regarding UHI (Urban Heat Island) effects of enhancing thunderstorm formation in the downwind heat plume. Although nearly everyone is fascinated by lightning, some of us are terrified, while others are drawn to its elusive beauty.
Now, new evidence suggests that lightning and its parent thunderstorms might actually be enhanced by cities.
The first step in unraveling the question is to understand the interaction between the land and atmosphere. The first is the urban heat island effect, perhaps the most well-known atmospheric phenomenon produced by a city. Caption: Radar climatology illustrating the clustering of strong thunderstorm days directly over and immediately surrounding Atlanta, Georgia. Caption: Plot of lightning events during periods of westerly flow illustrating downwind enhancement east of Atlanta, Georgia.
The 10-year study of lightning, rainfall, and thunderstorm activity in Atlanta in the summer months showed that enhanced thunderstorm activity was found to shift due to prevailing winds. The rainfall and lightning characteristics of thunderstorms developing in and around Atlanta were also detected when examining radar reflectivity. Although less important, the terrain might also be linked to the lightning and rainfall patterns surrounding Atlanta.
As far back as the 1960s, Tony Chandler gave his inaugural Professorial Lecture at the University of London on the London heat island. So much desinformation and distortion has been said above about what the article is really talking about. Go back in time, and you will find many papers stating what is the real impact from the solar activity fluctuation on earth temps and climate.
Again, your out of the subject (the subject here is Solar Activity impact – not Al Gore). As usual, your linking a subject talking about the sun activity fluctuation with something else.
The image is from the same source many skeptical articles are using to say it is cooling because we’re (or were) in a solar minimum. The pleasure you have in bashing Al Gore is your right, but this paper is not about him nor it is if the sun is heating or not the earth.
They got the data from the past, and they’re using models for what can be the future with multiple scenarios.
I think there are a lot of extra electrons left over from all those TV sets and they get together and draw the lightning.


Not that many airports are being built these days, but this does suggest that commercial airports should be placed upwind from cities. I had not considered the fact that urban heat would extend so far out into the surrounding countryside.
The first is the urban heat island effect, perhaps the most well-known atmospheric phenomenon produced by a city.
When I lived in metro Atlanta for 20-odd years, I was quite familiar with a different effect.
Since I was living on the western perimeter, it was quite frustrating during a hot, dry spell to see thunderstorms approach with much needed rain, only to see them dissipate short of Atlanta. I believe the color coding is for temperature of the cloud tops, the “hot” reds really being colder cloud tops. Seriously, the warmists will not pay any attention to this as it’s not caused by manmade Co2. The colours are not temperature based as they would be in an infared scan, but density based.
Seriously, the warmists will not pay any attention to this as it’s not caused by manmade Co2.
Yeah, well that’s why they just invented CO2 domes over cities, that takes care of the UHI and therefore the AGW is actually causing the thunder and lightning. Get faster updatesDownload the free Breaking News app for faster updates, alerts and live video. A thunderstorm, also known as an electrical storm, a lightning storm, or a thundershower, is a type of storm characterized by the presence of lightning and its acoustic effect on the Earth's atmosphere known as thunder.
Thunderstorms can generally form and develop in any particular geographic location, perhaps most frequently within areas located at mid-latitude when warm moist air collides with cooler air. There are four types of thunderstorms: single-cell, multicell cluster, multicell lines, and supercells. Instead, sunlight triggers interactions between pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and other gases, and those reactions create ozone. Updrafts in thunderstorm clouds range from about 20 to 100 miles per hour, so air arrives at the top of the troposphere, about 6 to10 miles up, with its pollutants relatively intact.
They’ll fly again the next day to find the same air mass, using its distinctive chemical signature to see how it has changed over time.
A few interesting facts about ball lightning and theories associated with it are presented in this Buzzle article. Though you might stay indoors during thunderstorms, there might be situations when you are outdoors.
This Buzzle piece elaborately explains the concept of a hail and states some interesting facts about this type of storm. Seriously though, the best storms to record are when the thunder and lightning happens on the leading edge of the storm. With the mountains, open fields and thick forests around here there are many types of sounds produced. I met someone here who was hit while working outside and survived so I know first hand about the dangers.
Safety is the first priority no matter how excited I get when I know a good storm is coming my way.Safety is the first priority no matter how excited I get when I know a good storm is coming my way. I place them about three meters apart under the trees in my back yard with each microphone rig pointed in a different direction based on what my weather tracking Apps indicate the direction of the storm will come from. The thunder gods heard my request and they delivered!2013 was a terrible year for storms while 2014 has been the best so far. Again, I had just stepped out on my deck to set up my two MKH-8040ST microphone rigs and CRACK! I was really upset that my main recording rigs were not running but since I had heard some rumblings earlier I placed a Sony PCM D-100 on the other side of the house and it got it. How are they different, and have you learned anything from making the first two that came in handy for the 3rd one?
These microphones capture the full frequency response of the thunder and lightning and the high SPL they produce with wonderful results. Recording thunder and lightning in any environment is extremely challenging in this noisy world we live in so I did clean up some of the files with RX-3 which worked really well. It Stems from this paper (PDF) published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.
Lightning is one of the most photogenic of all atmospheric phenomena, but also one of the least understood.
Urban areas are literally hotbeds for producing heat and lift, two important ingredients for thunderstorm formation. It is currently thought that several processes in this complex interaction are likely at work in altering thunderstorm distributions around cities.
An urban heat island occurs when the city registers higher temperatures than the surrounding rural areas. For example, westerly winds produced a distinct increase in lightning activity east of downtown Atlanta.
Over the 10-year study, high radar reflectivity “hotspots” were persistently found along and north of downtown Atlanta and immediately east of the central business district. Winds from the northeast off the Appalachians and the focus of rainfall and lightning activity on the upwind side of Atlanta suggest that elevation changes across the metro area may interact with the urban heat island circulation and focus lightning and rainfall on the north side of the city. At much the same time, Bruce Atkinson, a geographer specialising in boundary layer climates, was discussing the effect of urban pavements on increased thunderstorm activity.
They were looking for the impact of the sun activity fluctuation, and that’s what they are talking about. Of course, you have’nt found a response on the net for this story, so you have to come here with another one. It’s kind of obvious that if they are looking at the fluctuation of the sun, they are looking at what heat it does during the cycle. But if it’s the way you understand things, i know why see the earth is flat and the sun is circling the earth everyday. If you choose the coolest of the scenario, currently we’re already above the predictable average.
An urban heat island occurs when the city registers higher temperatures than the surrounding rural areas.
When a storm front with a line of thunderstorms would approach Atlanta from the west, they would die out as they hit the Atlanta UHI, then regenerate once they passed the metro area.
Hot air rises, collide with cooler air, add in some water vapor cussing rain which cools down the city.
The color coding is given on the left hand side of the first image in the post and it relates to intensity of precipitation – higher dBz=more intense precipitation. I should have been more specific as I was referring to the weather radar most of us get via our local forecasters, Accuweather and Intellicast. The NWS uses a defined set, but there are many variations in common use, and the colour table can be customised to enhance specific features. I live just a few miles NE of Dayton, Ohio and many times in the summer big storms will form 10-15 miles east of Dayton(they don’t rain on me but I can watch them build if I look east southeast.
Thunderstorms are responsible for the development and formation of many severe weather phenomena.
Supercell thunderstorms are the strongest and the most associated with severe weather phenomena. This article provides facts and information about heat lightning that will be helpful to you.


From deep, booming thunder claps to dry lightning strikes I am always amazed at the dynamics of them.
I run about 75 feet of stereo cables from under the trees to the deck and then inside the house to my Sound Devices SD-702 or 744T recorders. I also set up a Sony portable recorder in another location, usually on the other side of the house as a back up.
Seven out of ten storms that roll in here don’t produce anything usable in terms of thunder and lightning. I heard the rain falling off the roof and it was coming down hard so I grabbed my Sony PCM-D1 and stepped out on my back deck then CRACK! While they sound wonderful they had to be pointed in the direction of where the storm was coming in from for the best result. Again, when I was caught with my pants down I used a Sony PCM D-100 recorder which sounds great and goes well beyond 20k. For all of its beauty, lightning is a major cause of weather-related deaths in the United States and accounts for more deaths than hurricanes and tornadoes combined. At the same time, throughout the world people are continuing to migrate to cities for employment opportunities and the search for a better life. Evidence suggests that thunderstorms developing over the city center, as well as storms along the periphery, were being directed by the westerly winds to the east side of the city and suburbs. Towering cumulonimbus clouds containing high concentrations of water droplets and ice crystals reflect significant amounts of microwave radiation back to the radar antenna. One explanation is that air flowing downhill from the Appalachians will be forced to rise once it encounters the buildings on the northern edge of Atlanta. You have the right to say whatever you want about the guy, still do it at the right place and in the right subject. But then I never really paid much attention to where thunderstorms bubbled up during an ordinary hot summer day, though it wouldn’t surprise me to see that the lift from the UHI would have an effect on storm location, intensity, and frequency. But now every afternoon during the summer enormous black clouds build up producing huge thunderstorms with torrential rain and flooding.
As time passed, more irrigation was installed, so that eventually, almost all of the dry land farms were now irrigated. Three people, including a two-year-old boy, died in Waverly, Va., when their mobile home was hit by a possible tornado, AP reports. They are usually accompanied by strong winds, heavy rain and sometimes snow, sleet, hail, or, in contrast, no precipitation at all. As the warm, moist air moves upward, it cools, condenses, and forms cumulonimbus clouds that can reach heights of over 20 km (12.45 miles).
Thunderstorms, and the phenomena that occur along with them, pose great hazards to populations and landscapes. Mesoscale convective systems formed by favorable vertical wind shear within the tropics and subtropics are responsible for the development of hurricanes. This is very rare because the wind energy need to create the sudden thermal expansion needs to be present. Just as I stepped out the door there was this intense lightning strike just on the other side of the hill behind my house. Nearly 40 percent of all lightning deaths occur when a person is involved in some form of outdoor recreation. Cars, air conditioning units, idling engines, and miles of asphalt and concrete all either produce or retain heat. The Atlanta enhancement, particularly for lightning, was well developed for westerly and northwesterly winds that carried thunderstorms east and southeast of downtown. This is distinct from other prevailing wind directions, where lightning activity was found to intensify over and downwind of the city center.
Usually Brett post something about him every three months – use that opportunity to bash all your soul, but please stay in the subject. You got many oscillation playing with the weather and what you can feel and get at any place in the world. We’re heading for the next maximum in about 3-5 years, and then it will start to go down. The body of a man reported missing after his home was destroyed was found in Appomattox County, Va.
As the rising air reaches its dew point, water droplets and ice form and begin falling the long distance through the clouds towards the Earth's surface.
Damage that results from thunderstorms is mainly inflicted by downburst winds, large hailstones, and flash flooding caused by heavy precipitation.
Dry thunderstorms, with no precipitation, can cause the outbreak of wildfires with the heat generated from the cloud-to-ground lightning that accompanies them. Most of the thunder and lightning I record here in North Idaho is actually from multiple fronts colliding. They also have a limited frequency response and do not capture the extreme low and high frequencies thunder and lightning can produce. The most notable feature of an urban heat island is the lack of cooling during late afternoon and evening after temperatures normally reach their highest.
Thunderstorm enhancement can occur in all directions around downtown Atlanta, directed primarily by the prevailing wind direction. Radar-identified thunderstorms were found to be greatest over the downtown with a general decrease moving outward from the city center.
Several methods are used to study thunderstorms, such as weather radar, weather stations, and video photography. These fronts can swirl around and change direction very quickly so there can be multiple leading edges. I also used a Sony PCM D-1 and D-50 quite a bit for when I did not have time to set up all the gear. City growth has increased the amount of urbanized land cover in the United States to nearly the size of Ohio! When compared to the rural countryside, urban corridors have much less area exposed to open air and instead have many warm buildings facing each other.
What you’ve been told is that the impact was marginal and already accounted in the figures. While most thunderstorms move with the mean wind flow through the layer of the troposphere that they occupy, vertical wind shear causes a deviation in their course at a right angle to the wind shear direction. The falling droplets create a downdraft of cold air and moisture that spreads out at the Earth's surface, causing the strong winds commonly associated with thunderstorms, and occasionally fog.
Past civilizations held various myths concerning thunderstorms and their development as late as the 18th century. In the United States, many of our cities in the south are growing rapidly due to their location in a more temperate climate. Other than within the Earth's atmosphere, thunderstorms have also been observed on Jupiter, Saturn and Venus. After sunset, city-to-countryside temperature differences grow quickly and can reach, in some cases, more than 10°F. It appears that the Atlanta urban heat island and associated buildings may combine to produce the downtown thunderstorm radar “hotspot,” while the urban heat island-produced circulations on the fringes of the city lead to increases in suburban thunderstorms, lightning, and rainfall.
The greatest city-to-countryside temperature differences occur during the long, hot days of summer when daylight is maximized.



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