A winter-season lightning climatology for the contiguous United States

  • Mace L. Bentley
  • Collin Riley
  • Elise Mazur
Original Paper


This research characterizes the spatial and temporal distribution of cloud-to-ground lightning occurring during the winter season (December through February) by utilizing 14 years (2002–2015) of data from the National Lightning Detection Network. Additionally, a Spatial Synoptic Classification system was utilized to examine flash patterns associated with a variety of weather types. The spatial and temporal analysis was conducted by incorporating these datasets into a geographic information system to determine the winter season distribution and associated lightning characteristics across the contiguous US as well as within weather types. The Southeast US and adjacent Oceanic regions, as well as California and Nevada were examined at a higher spatial resolution to further discern flash patterns. The results provide visualization of the lightning flash distribution utilizing flash density and lightning day metrics by weather type and for the winter months; a season under-represented in previous lightning investigations.



The authors wish to thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive and detailed comments that greatly strengthened this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Integrated Sciences, Geographic Science ProgramJames Madison UniversityHarrisonburgUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeographyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  3. 3.World Resources InstituteWashingtonUSA

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