Articles | Volume 8, issue 2
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 649–669, 2015
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 649–669, 2015

Research article 09 Feb 2015

Research article | 09 Feb 2015

An overview of the lightning and atmospheric electricity observations collected in southern France during the HYdrological cycle in Mediterranean EXperiment (HyMeX), Special Observation Period 1

E. Defer1, J.-P. Pinty2, S. Coquillat2, J.-M. Martin2, S. Prieur2, S. Soula2, E. Richard2, W. Rison3, P. Krehbiel3, R. Thomas3, D. Rodeheffer3, C. Vergeiner4, F. Malaterre5, S. Pedeboy5, W. Schulz6, T. Farges7, L.-J. Gallin7, P. Ortéga8, J.-F. Ribaud9, G. Anderson10, H.-D. Betz11, B. Meneux11, V. Kotroni12, K. Lagouvardos12, S. Roos13, V. Ducrocq9, O. Roussot9, L. Labatut9, and G. Molinié14 E. Defer et al.
  • 1LERMA, UMR8112, Observatoire de Paris & CNRS, Paris, France
  • 2LA, UMR5560, Université de Toulouse & CNRS, Toulouse, France
  • 3NMT, Socorro, New Mexico, USA
  • 4Institute of High Voltage Engineering and System Performance, TU Graz, Graz, Austria
  • 5Météorage, Pau, France
  • 6OVE-ALDIS, Vienna, Austria
  • 7CEA, DAM, DIF, Arpajon, France
  • 8GePaSUD, UPF, Faa'a, Tahiti, French Polynesia
  • 9CNRM-GAME, UMR3589, Météo-France & CNRS, Toulouse, France
  • 10UK Met Office, Exeter, UK
  • 11nowcast, Garching, Germany
  • 12NOA, Athens, Greece
  • 13Météo France, Nîmes, France
  • 14LTHE, Grenoble, France

Abstract. The PEACH project (Projet en Electricité Atmosphérique pour la Campagne HyMeX – the Atmospheric Electricity Project of the HyMeX Program) is the atmospheric electricity component of the Hydrology cycle in the Mediterranean Experiment (HyMeX) experiment and is dedicated to the observation of both lightning activity and electrical state of continental and maritime thunderstorms in the area of the Mediterranean Sea. During the HyMeX SOP1 (Special Observation Period) from 5 September to 6 November 2012, four European operational lightning locating systems (ATDnet, EUCLID, LINET, ZEUS) and the HyMeX lightning mapping array network (HyLMA) were used to locate and characterize the lightning activity over the northwestern Mediterranean at flash, storm and regional scales. Additional research instruments like slow antennas, video cameras, microbarometer and microphone arrays were also operated. All these observations in conjunction with operational/research ground-based and airborne radars, rain gauges and in situ microphysical records are aimed at characterizing and understanding electrically active and highly precipitating events over southeastern France that often lead to severe flash floods. Simulations performed with cloud resolving models like Meso-NH and Weather Research and Forecasting are used to interpret the results and to investigate further the links between dynamics, microphysics, electrification and lightning occurrence. Herein we present an overview of the PEACH project and its different instruments. Examples are discussed to illustrate the comprehensive and unique lightning data set, from radio frequency to acoustics, collected during the SOP1 for lightning phenomenology understanding, instrumentation validation, storm characterization and modeling.

Short summary
The paper summarizes the scientific objectives and the observational/modeling strategy of the atmospheric electricity PEACH project of the HyMeX program focusing on the lightning activity and the electrical state of Mediterranean thunderstorms. Examples of concurrent observations from radio frequency to acoustic for regular and atypical lightning flashes and for storms are discussed, showing the unique and comprehensive description of lightning flashes recorded during a dedicated field campaign.