Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Lightning activity in the eastern Mediterranean region

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Abstract

[1] Twenty days of lightning activity recorded during winter 2002–2003 in the Mediterranean region with significant rain accumulation in Greece were studied on the basis of the measurements of the UK Met Office long-range VLF sferics Arrival Time Difference (ATD) system and the spaceborne NASA Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS) sensor onboard the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) satellite. Cloud-to-Ground (CG) flash density as well as history of CG activity were investigated on the basis of the sferics fixes. LIS observations were studied to document both intracloud (IC) and CG flashes in terms of extension, duration and development during different TRMM passes over the Mediterranean Sea. The analysis revealed that more than 266,000 CG flashes occurred during the 20 studied days. CG flashes were mostly located over sea, and CG density was found to follow the North African and Turkish shorelines. About 85% of the CG flashes were composed of a single sferics fix while the number of sferics fixes per CG flash was found ranging up to 15. Flash duration was found ranging from a few milliseconds to 2 s on the basis of LIS observations.

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