Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Kevin S. Bartlett, Ph.D, PhD.


Previous research on cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning initiation forecasting shows a potential benefit in using dual-polarization (DP) weather radar. The propagation of radio waves in both the horizontal and vertical planes makes DP radar better equipped to identify radar returns indicative of charge separation within clouds. Algorithms using the DP radar products of differential reflectivity (ZDR) and specific differential phase (KDP) combined with reflectivity (Z) values were developed to determine if DP radar could outperform a standard conventional radar forecasting technique (Z greater or less than 40dBZ at - 10?C). 68 single-cell thunderstorms were evaluated near Kennedy Space Center (KSC), FL for to develop and test these algorithms. It was concluded that using DP radar to forecast CG lightning provided better results than the standard conventional radar technique through improved skill scores (100% possibility of detection and 0% false alarm ratio), increased lead time (approximately 5 minutes), or both. However, more research over a longer time period is needed to validate these results and convert to an automated operational forecasting tool.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number