Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-907
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-907
24 May 2024
 | 24 May 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion and under review for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Technical note: On the ice microphysics of isolated thunderstorms and non-thunderstorms in southern China: A radar polarimetric perspective 

Chuanhong Zhao, Yijun Zhang, Dong Zheng, Haoran Li, Sai Du, Xueyan Peng, Xiantong Liu, Pengguo Zhao, Jiafeng Zheng, and Juan Shi

Abstract. The determination of whether a cloud will evolve into a thunderstorm is beneficial for understanding thunderstorm formation and important for ensuring the safety of society. However, a clear understanding of the microphysics in clouds for the occurrence of lightning activity has not been attained. Vast field observations and laboratory experiments indicate that graupel, which is rimed ice, is a vital hydrometeor for lightning generation, and is the foundation of riming electrification. In this study, polarimetric radar and lightning observations are used to compare the ice microphysics associated with graupel between 57 isolated thunderstorms and 39 isolated non-thunderstorms, and the differences in radar parameters are quantified. Our results for the occurrence of lightning activity in clouds showed the following results: 1) the maximum difference in graupel volume on the −10 °C isotherm height between thunderstorms and non-thunderstorms reached approximately 7.6 km3; 2) the graupel particles approached spherical shapes with a mean ZDR value of 0.3 dB, which likely indicated heavily rimed graupel was present; and 3) 98.2 % of thunderstorms were equipped with the ZDR column, and the mean depth was ~2.5 km. Our study deepens our understanding of lighting physics and thunderstorm formation.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Chuanhong Zhao, Yijun Zhang, Dong Zheng, Haoran Li, Sai Du, Xueyan Peng, Xiantong Liu, Pengguo Zhao, Jiafeng Zheng, and Juan Shi

Status: open (until 05 Jul 2024)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-907', Anonymous Referee #1, 11 Jun 2024 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-907', Anonymous Referee #2, 12 Jun 2024 reply
Chuanhong Zhao, Yijun Zhang, Dong Zheng, Haoran Li, Sai Du, Xueyan Peng, Xiantong Liu, Pengguo Zhao, Jiafeng Zheng, and Juan Shi
Chuanhong Zhao, Yijun Zhang, Dong Zheng, Haoran Li, Sai Du, Xueyan Peng, Xiantong Liu, Pengguo Zhao, Jiafeng Zheng, and Juan Shi

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Short summary
Understanding lightning activity is important for meteorology and atmospheric chemistry. However, the occurrence of lightning activity in clouds is uncertain. This study quantified the difference between isolated thunderstorms and non-thunderstorms. Here we showed lightning activity was more likely to occur with more graupel volume and/or more riming. And a deeper ZDR column was associated with lightning occurrence. This information can aid in a deeper understanding of lighting physics.