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Open Access Publications from the University of California

CAPE Times P Explains Lightning Over Land But Not the Land‐Ocean Contrast

  • Author(s): Romps, David M
  • Charn, Alexander B
  • Holzworth, Robert H
  • Lawrence, William E
  • Molinari, John
  • Vollaro, David
  • et al.

©2018. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. The contemporaneous pointwise product of convective available potential energy (CAPE) and precipitation is shown to be a good proxy for lightning. In particular, the CAPE × P proxy for lightning faithfully replicates seasonal maps of lightning over the contiguous United States, as well as the shape, amplitude, and timing of the diurnal cycle in lightning. Globally, CAPE × P correctly predicts the distribution of flash rate densities over land, but it does not predict the pronounced land-ocean contrast in flash rate density; some factor other than CAPE or P is responsible for that land-ocean contrast.

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