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Publication Date
18 August 2021

Predictive proxies of present and future lightning in a superparameterized model



A superparameterized climate model is used to assess the global performance of several previously proposed proxies for lightning. In particular, predictors incorporating hydrometeor (ice, graupel) profiles and convective vertical velocities are compared to observations, then used to estimate changes in flash rates with global warming. The choice of microphysics parameterization is also investigated, with all predictors showing higher correlations with Lightning Imaging Sensor/Optical Transient Detector observations when using a 2-moment scheme compared to a 1-moment representation. All proxies generally agree in their response to warming over tropical land, with notable decreases in Africa, the Middle East, and northern South America, but disagree over oceans and the midlatitudes. The product of convective available potential energy and precipitation predicts increases over these latter areas, as do the 2-moment ice-based proxies, while those of the 1-moment model tend to show decreases, highlighting the importance of cloud microphysics when using climate models to simulate lightning.
“Predictive Proxies Of Present And Future Lightning In A Superparameterized Model”. 2021. Journal Of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 126. doi:10.1029/2021jd035461.
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