Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Omar A. Nava, PhD.


Accurate forecasts of thunderstorms are important to space launch, aviation, and public safety. While prior studies have primarily focused on atmospheric conditions leading to lightning onset, less research has been dedicated to the challenging problem of predicting lightning cessation. This study verifies the probabilistic lightning cessation model developed by Joseph Patton (2017) at Florida State University for use by the U.S. Air Force's 45th Weather Squadron at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Kennedy Space Center (KSC). The Washington, D.C. greater metropolitan area, which presents a climate different to that of central Florida, was chosen as the do- main of study. Consistent results would build confidence for use of the method at CCAFS/KSC and lend credence for use at other locations and possible implementation as a product for the Next-Generation Radar network. The lightning cessation algorithm employs the use of dual-polarization radar and New Mexico Tech Lightning Mapping Array in and around the Washington, D.C area. The algorithm incorporates the presence of graupel at -5°C, -10°C, -15°C, and -20°C levels, maximum reflectivity at 0°C, and composite (maximum) reflectivity in a generalized linear model. The model was tested for three probability thresholds: 95.0%, 97.5%, and 99.0%. A database of 47 isolated, warm season storms in the greater metropolitan Washington, D.C. area were tracked. Performance statistics show that the model revealed notable skill in the Washington, D.C. area, yet not to the desired level as indicated by the model's performance in central Florida.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number


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Meteorology Commons