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Thunderstorm activity and the structure of tropical cyclones


Synoptic and mesoscale cyclonic systems over the ocean and seas are often accompanied by thunderstorm activity, the intensity and spatial distribution of which is modulated by the dynamic structure of these systems. Lightning discharges are sources of electromagnetic radiation in the range of very low frequencies (VLF) and are detected by VLF location finders. Using the World Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN), relations between characteristics of fields of detected lightning discharges in the north-western part of the Pacific Ocean and those of fields of meteorological elements of weather formations estimated by data of remote sensing of the Earth by satellites are studied by an example of tropical cyclones. We illustrate a technique permitting one to connect thunderstorm activity parameters (frequency and intensity, as well as spatial distribution of lightning discharges) with the structure of weather systems over oceans and seas and with the intensity and forms of mesoscale formations distinguished in these systems by fields of the near-water wind vortex (the fields are obtained using a scatterometer) and by satellite images in the visible and infrared ranges. The relations between the frequency and density of lightning discharges in the range of influence of a tropical cyclone (TC) and spatial distribution of the near-water wind vortex are demonstrated by an example of individual TCs of 2005–2013.

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Correspondence to M. S. Permyakov.

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Original Russian Text © M.S. Permyakov, E.Yu. Potalova, B.M. Shevtsov, N.V. Cherneva, R.H. Holzworth, 2015, published in Optika Atmosfery i Okeana.

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Permyakov, M.S., Potalova, E.Y., Shevtsov, B.M. et al. Thunderstorm activity and the structure of tropical cyclones. Atmos Ocean Opt 28, 585–590 (2015).

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  • tropical cyclones
  • thunderstorms activity
  • lightning localization
  • very low frequency radiation