Explaining unusual winter lightning in Japan



Third International Symposium on Winter Lightning; Sapporo, Japan, 15–16 June 2011 Japan's meteorological setting in winter is unusual: It is an island in a relatively warm sea frequently overswept by colder air from Siberia. This sets up appreciable atmospheric instability in the fringe of the land adjacent to the Sea of Japan. Heavy snowstorms overlap the edge of the island and produce extraordinarily energetic lightning flashes that initiate from points on the ground (known as ground-to-cloud (GC) strokes) and wreak havoc on power lines and, more recently, wind turbines. These troublesome and costly conditions set the stage for the third in a series of conferences on winter lightning.