Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Gary R. Huffines, PhD


In 1987, an unmanned Atlas-Centaur-67 launched from the Cape triggered a lightning discharge that disabled the on-board guidance system and Range Control destroyed the platform. This incident spurred the review and revision of the natural and triggered lightning launch commit criteria (LCC). The LCC are a set of eleven complex rules that are constantly evaluated by the Launch Weather Team (LWT) of 45th Weather Squadron (45WS). Unfortunately, the 45WS LWT does not have either a descriptive or conditional climatology for many of the LCC. This thesis addresses the lightning and the cumulus LCC. A descriptive climatology for both the lightning and the cumulus LCC is presented for the 1989 to 1998 period Additionally, the climate of the Cape is divided into four seasons, and a conditional climatology is introduced for the cumulus LCC. The conditional climatology procedure uses a season-specific discriminant function to classify the radiosonde observations into either the violation or no violation group for the four seasons Because of the limited number of cumulus violation cases, the statistical significance of the four seasonal discriminant functions could not be verified. Therefore, further refinement of the seasonal discriminant functions is needed to make them a more useful forecasting tool.

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The author's Vita page is omitted.