Submitted as: development and technical paper 02 Nov 2021

Submitted as: development and technical paper | 02 Nov 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

A parameterization of Long-Continuing-Current (LCC) lightning in the lightning submodel LNOX (version 3.0) of the Modular Earth Submodel System (MESSy, version 2.54)

Francisco Javier Pérez-Invernón1, Heidi Huntrieser1, Patrick Jöckel1, and Francisco J. Gordillo-Vázquez2 Francisco Javier Pérez-Invernón et al.
  • 1Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
  • 2Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, CSIC, Glorieta de la Astronomía s/n, Granada, Spain

Abstract. Lightning flashes can produce a discharge in which a continuing electrical current flows for more than 40 ms. This type of flashes are proposed to be the main precursors of lightning-ignited wildfires and also to trigger sprite discharges in the mesosphere. However, lightning parameterizations implemented in global atmospheric models do not include information about the continuing electrical current of flashes. The continuing current of lightning flashes cannot be detected by conventional lightning location systems. Instead, these so-called Long-Continuing-Current (LCC) flashes are commonly observed by Extreme Low Frequency (ELF) sensors and by optical instruments located in space. Previous reports of LCC lightning flashes tend to occur in winter and oceanic thunderstorms, which suggests a connection between weak convection and the occurrence of this type of discharge.

In this study, we develop a parameterization of LCC lightning flashes based on a climatology derived from optical lightning measurements reported by the Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS) on-board the International Space Station (ISS) between March 2017 and March 2020. We use meteorological data from reanalyses to find a global parameterization that uses the vertical velocity at 450 hPa pressure level as a proxy for the ratio of LCC to typical lightning in thunderstorms. We implement this parameterization into the LNOX submodel of the Modular Earth Submodel System (MESSy) for usage within the EMAC model, and compare the observed and the simulated climatologies of LCC lightning flashes using six different lightning parameterizations. We find that the best agreement between the simulated and the observed spatial distribution is obtained when using a novel combined lightning parameterization based on the cloud top height over land and on the convective precipitation over ocean.

Francisco Javier Pérez-Invernón et al.

Status: open (until 28 Dec 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on gmd-2021-351', Anonymous Referee #1, 16 Nov 2021 reply

Francisco Javier Pérez-Invernón et al.

Data sets

ERA5 meteorological data Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) - ECMWF

ISS-LIS lightning data NASA

Monthly averaged lightning data extracted from 1-year EMAC simulation including LCC-lightning (between 1 March, 2017 and 28 February, 2018, T42L90MA resolution) Francisco J. Pérez-Invernón; Heidi Huntrieser; Patrick Jöckel; Francisco J. Gordillo-Vázquez

Francisco Javier Pérez-Invernón et al.


Total article views: 211 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total BibTeX EndNote
172 33 6 211 3 3
  • HTML: 172
  • PDF: 33
  • XML: 6
  • Total: 211
  • BibTeX: 3
  • EndNote: 3
Views and downloads (calculated since 02 Nov 2021)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 02 Nov 2021)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 200 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 200 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
Latest update: 29 Nov 2021
Short summary
This study reports the first parameterization for long-continuing-current lightning in a climate model. Long-continuing-current lightning are proposed to be the main precursors of lightning-ignited fires and sprite, a type of Transient Luminous Event. Introducing long-continuing-current lightning in climate models can significantly contribute to improve the parameterization of lightning-ignited fires and sprites.