Concurrent cloud-to-ground lightning and precipitation enhancement in the Atlanta, Georgia (USA) urban region
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This study explores how the Atlanta, Georgia (United States), urban region influences warm-season (May through September) cloud-toground lightning flashes and precipitation. Eight years (1995–2003) of flashes from the National Lightning Detection Network and mean accumulated precipitation from the North American Regional Reanalysis model were mapped under seven different wind speed and direction combinations derived from cluster analysis. Overlays of these data affirmed a consistent coupling of lightning and precipitation enhancement around Atlanta. Maxima in precipitation and lightning shifted in response to changes in wind direction. Differences in the patterns of flash metrics (flash counts versus thunderstorm counts), the absence of any strong urban signal in the flashes of individual thunderstorms,and the scales over which flashes and precipitation enhancement developed are discussed in light of their support for land-cover- and aerosol-based mechanisms of urban weather modification. This study verifies Atlanta’s propensity to conjointly enhance cloud-to-ground lightning and precipitation production in the absence of strong synoptic forcing. However, because of variability in aerosol characteristics and the dynamics of land use change, it may be a simplification to assume that this observed enhancement will be persistent across all scales of analysis.