Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2024-3
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2024-3
16 Apr 2024
 | 16 Apr 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Urban morphology modulates thunderstorm process and associatied cloud-to-ground lightning activity over Beijing metropolitan region

Tao Shi, Yuanjian Yang, Gaopeng Lu, Zuofang Zheng, Yucheng Zi, Ye Tian, Lei Liu, and Simone Lolli

Abstract. The effect of urban barriers may have a significant impact on the patterns of thunderstorm processes and lightning activity, but there is still a lack of comprehensive mechanical explanations. The observational analysis carried out in this study found that cloud-to-ground (CG) lighting activity tends to cluster around the outer boundaries of the mega cities, while, on the opposite, CG gathers within the small-sized city. When a squall line originating from a type of mesoscale convective system (MCS) known as '0713' passed through the built-up area, the barrier effect of the rough underlying surface contributed to the separation of the cold pool. This led to weakening of vertical airflow and breaking of the convergence line, ultimately triggering the bifurcation of the thunderstorm. Simulation results complement these observations. When buildings outside the 5 Ring Road (RR) are replaced with bare soil, the separation of the cold pool is minimized. Furthermore, the density of the buildings also influenced the strength of the barrier effect. Therefore, the specific urban morphologies were identified as a critical factor in modulating cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning activity and the organization process of thunderstorms. This study offers a fundamental foundation and technical support for predicting and assessing urban cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning risks. It holds significant implications for understanding excess urban warming, its prediction and assessment, and the resulting thermal risk, influenced by factors such as ventilation, sea breezes, and the geophysical environment in coastal cities.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Tao Shi, Yuanjian Yang, Gaopeng Lu, Zuofang Zheng, Yucheng Zi, Ye Tian, Lei Liu, and Simone Lolli

Status: open (until 28 May 2024)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2024-3', Anonymous Referee #1, 23 Apr 2024 reply
Tao Shi, Yuanjian Yang, Gaopeng Lu, Zuofang Zheng, Yucheng Zi, Ye Tian, Lei Liu, and Simone Lolli
Tao Shi, Yuanjian Yang, Gaopeng Lu, Zuofang Zheng, Yucheng Zi, Ye Tian, Lei Liu, and Simone Lolli

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Short summary
This study found that CG lightning tends to cluster around the outer boundaries of large cities, but gathers within small cities. The urban underlying surface can contribute to the separation of cold pools, weakening vertical airflow, and triggering thunderstorm bifurcation. The density of buildings also influences the barrier effect. This research provides a foundation for predicting and assessing urban CG lightning risks.
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