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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 24, issue 2
Ann. Geophys., 24, 529-542, 2006
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-24-529-2006
© Author(s) 2006. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 24, 529-542, 2006
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-24-529-2006
© Author(s) 2006. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  23 Mar 2006

23 Mar 2006

Seasonal and diurnal variation of lightning activity over southern Africa and correlation with European whistler observations

A. B. Collier1,2, A. R. W. Hughes1, J. Lichtenberger3, and P. Steinbach4 A. B. Collier et al.
  • 1School of Physics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, 4041, Durban, South Africa
  • 2Alfvén Laboratory, Royal Institute of Technology, SE-100 44, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 3Space Research Group, Eötvös University, Budapest, Pf 32, H-1518, Hungary
  • 4Research Group for Geoinformatics and Space Sciences, Eötvös University, Budapest, Pf 32, H-1518 Hungary

Abstract. Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS) data have been analysed to ascertain the statistical pattern of lightning occurrence over southern Africa. The diurnal and seasonal variations are mapped in detail. The highest flash rates (107.2 km-2 y-1) occur close to the equator but maxima are also found over Madagascar (32.1 km-2 y-1) and South Africa (26.4 km-2 y-1). A feature of the statistics is a relatively steady contribution from over the ocean off the east coast of South Africa that appears to be associated with the Agulhas current.

Lightning statistics are of intrinsic meteorological interest but they also relate to the occurrence of whistlers in the conjugate region. Whistler observations are made at Tihany, Hungary. Statistics reveal that the period of most frequent whistler occurrence does not correspond to the maximum in lightning activity in the conjugate region but is strongly influenced by ionospheric illumination and other factors. The whistler/flash ratio, R, shows remarkable variations during the year and has a peak that is narrowly confined to February and March.

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