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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-25
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-25
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: review article 28 Feb 2020

Submitted as: review article | 28 Feb 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Review Article: A comprehensive review of datasets and methodologies employed to produce thunderstorm climatologies

Leah Hayward1, Malcolm Whitworth1, Nick Pepin1, and Steve Dorling2 Leah Hayward et al.
  • 1School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences, University of Portsmouth, Burnaby Building, Burnaby Road, Portsmouth, PO1 3QL, United Kingdom
  • 2School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, United Kingdom

Abstract. Thunderstorm and lightning climatological research is conducted with a view to increasing knowledge about the distribution of thunderstorm related hazards and to gain an understanding of environmental factors increasing or decreasing their frequency. There are three main methodologies used in the construction of thunderstorm climatologies; thunderstorm frequency, thunderstorm tracking or lightning flash density. These approaches utilise a wide variety of underpinning datasets and employ many different methods ranging from correlations with potential influencing factors and mapping the distribution of thunderstorm day frequencies, to tracking individual thunderstorm cell movements. Meanwhile, lightning flash density climatologies are produced using lightning data alone and these studies therefore follow a more standardised format. Whilst lightning flash density climatologies are primarily concerned with the occurrence of cloud to ground lightning, the occurrence of any form of lightning confirms the presence of a thunderstorm and can therefore be used in the compilation of a thunderstorm climatology. Regardless of approach, the choice of analysis method is heavily influenced by dataset coverage, quality and the controlling factors under investigation. The issues investigated must also reflect the needs of the end use application to ensure that the results can be used effectively to reduce exposure to hazard, improve forecasting or enhance climatological understanding.

Leah Hayward et al.

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Leah Hayward et al.

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Short summary
This review article outlines the state of thunderstorm climatologies, which, are underrepresented in the literature. Thunderstorms overlap with lightning and intense precipitation events, both of which create important hazards. This article compiles and evaluates information on datasets, research approaches and methodologies used in quantifying thunderstorm distribution, providing an introduction to the topic and signposting new and established researchers to research articles and datasets.
This review article outlines the state of thunderstorm climatologies, which, are...
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