Report

Enhanced Positive Cloud-to-Ground Lightning in Thunderstorms Ingesting Smoke from Fires

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  02 Oct 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5386, pp. 77-80
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5386.77

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Abstract

Smoke from forest fires in southern Mexico was advected into the U.S. southern plains from April to June 1998. Cloud-to-ground lightning (CG) flash data from the National Lightning Detection Network matched against satellite-mapped aerosol plumes imply that thunderstorms forming in smoke-contaminated air masses generated large amounts of lightning with positive polarity (+CGs). During 2 months, nearly half a million flashes in the southern plains exhibited +CG percentages that were triple the climatological norm. The peak currents in these +CGs were double the expected value. These thunderstorms also produced abnormally high numbers of mesospheric optical sprites.

View Full Text