Anvil microphysical signatures associated with lightning-produced NOx
- 1National Center for Atmospheric Research, Box 3000, Boulder, Colorado 80307, USA
- 2Colorado State University, 3915 W Laport Ave, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523, USA
- anow at: Global Weather Corporation, Boulder, Colorado, USA
Abstract. Thunderstorm anvils were studied during the Deep Convective Clouds and Chemistry experiment (DC3), using in situ measurements and observations of ice particles and NOx together with radar and Lightning Mapping Array measurements. A characteristic ice particle and NOx signature was found in the anvils from three storms, each containing high lightning flash rates in the storm core prior to anvil sampling. This signature exhibits high concentrations of frozen droplets (as measured by a Cloud Droplet Probe) coincident with lower NOx on the edges of the anvil. The central portion of these anvils exhibited a high degree of aggregation of these frozen droplets and higher levels of NOx. In contrast, a deep convective cell with low lightning flash rates had high concentrations of both frozen droplets and aggregated frozen droplets in its anvil's central region. A conceptual model for these results is presented and applied to the observations from each of these storms. High NOx concentrations are often found where aggregation of frozen droplets has occurred, which may be a reflection of aggregation by electrical forces in the regions where lightning is occurring, although the level of NOx for a given concentration of aggregates varies from storm to storm. These observations between anvil microphysics and lightning and/or NOx signatures suggest that lightning data may be an important tool to characterize or infer the microphysical, radiative, and chemical properties of thunderstorm anvils.