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https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-292
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-292
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  16 Nov 2020

16 Nov 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Variability of lightning hazard over Indian region with respect to ENSO Phases

Sreenath Avaronthan Veettil1, Abhilash Sukumarapillai1,2, and Vijaykumar Pattathil1,2 Sreenath Avaronthan Veettil et al.
  • 1Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Cochin 682016, India
  • 2Advanced Department Centre for Atmospheric Radar Research, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Cochin 682022, India

Abstract. The El-Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) modulates the lightning flash rate (LFR) variability over India during pre-monsoon, monsoon, and post-monsoon seasons. The impact of ENSO phases on the LFR over the Indian subcontinent is studied using the data obtained from Optical Transient Detector and Lightning Imaging Sensors onboard the TRMM satellite. The study shows that irrespective of ENSO phases, the LFR is maximum over northeast India (NEI) in the pre-monsoon season, and the peak is shifted to the north of northwest India (NNWI) in the monsoon season. The LFR over Northeast India (NEI) and southern peninsular India (SPI) intensified (reduced) during the warm (cold) phase of ENSO in the pre-monsoon season. In the monsoon season, NEI (NNWI) is showing above normal LFR in the warm (cold) ENSO phase. It is fascinating that the three hotspots of LFR over the Indian land region became more prominent in the last decade of the monsoon season. A widespread increase of LFR is observed all over India during the warm phase of ENSO in the post-monsoon season. However, a marked increase in the LFR is confined mostly over the NNWI in the cold ENSO phase. The subtropical westerly jet stream is shifted south in association with the warm phase, and an increase in the geopotential height (GPH) is also noticed all over India in the same period. ENSO’s warm phase indirectly influences the LFR over India during the post-monsoon season by pushing the mean position of subtropical westerly towards south latitudes.

Sreenath Avaronthan Veettil et al.

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Sreenath Avaronthan Veettil et al.

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Short summary
Lightning is multifaceted hazards with widespread negative consequences for the environment and society. This study explores how ENSO phases impact the lightning over India by modulating the deep convection and associated atmospheric thermodynamics. Our results show that ENSO phases directly influence lightning over India during monsoon season. However, ENSO indirectly affects the lightning during the post-monsoon season by pushing the mean position of subtropical westerly towards the south.
Lightning is multifaceted hazards with widespread negative consequences for the environment and...
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