Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-1284
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-1284

  18 Jan 2021

18 Jan 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Aerosol Effects on Electrification and Lightning Discharges in a Multicell Thunderstorm Simulated by the WRF-ELEC Model

Mengyu Sun1,5, Dongxia Liu1, Xiushu Qie1, Edward R. Mansell2, Yoav Yair3, Alexandre O. Fierro2,4, Shanfeng Yuan1, Zhixiong Chen1,5, and Dongfang Wang1 Mengyu Sun et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory of Middle Atmosphere and Global Environment Observation, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 2NOAA/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma, USA
  • 3Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, School of Sustainability, Herzliya, Israel
  • 4Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA
  • 5College of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

Abstract. To investigate the effects of aerosol on lightning activity, the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model with a two-moment bulk microphysical scheme and bulk lightning model was employed to simulate a multicell thunderstorm that occurred in the metropolitan Beijing area. The results suggest that under polluted condition lightning activity is significantly enhanced during the developing and mature stages, while it is being delayed at the initial stage. Electrification and lightning discharges within the thunderstorm show distinguish characteristics by different aerosol conditions through microphysical processes. Elevated aerosol loading increases the cloud droplets numbers, the latent heat release, updraft and ice-phase particle number concentrations. More negative charges in the upper level are carried by ice particles and enhance the electrification process. A larger effective radius of graupel particles further increases non-inductive charging due to more effective collisions. The first lightning discharge was delayed at the beginning of polluted thunderstorm, coincident with the delayed occurrence of graupel and ice particles, which are responsible for charge generation through the non-inductive mechanism. In the continental case where aerosol concentrations are low, less latent heat releases in the upper parts of the cloud and as a consequence, the updraft speed is weaker leading to smaller concentrations of ice particles, lower charging rates and less lightning discharges.

Mengyu Sun et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2020-1284', Anonymous Referee #1, 12 Feb 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Mengyu Sun, 02 May 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2020-1284', Anonymous Referee #2, 11 Mar 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Mengyu Sun, 02 May 2021
  • RC3: 'Comment on acp-2020-1284', Anonymous Referee #3, 22 Mar 2021
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Mengyu Sun, 02 May 2021

Mengyu Sun et al.

Mengyu Sun et al.

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Short summary
By acting as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN), increasing aerosol loading tend to enhance lightning activity through microphysical processes. In this paper, we investigated the aerosol effects on the development of thunderstorm. A two-moment bulk microphysics scheme and bulk lightning model were coupled in the WRF model to simulate a multicell thunderstorm. Sensitivity experiments show that the enhancement of lightning activity under polluted condition results from increasing ice crystals number.
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