Journal article

Sensitivity of the distribution of thunderstorms to sea surface temperatures in four Australian east coast lows

Christopher RS Chambers, Gary B Brassington, Kevin Walsh, Ian Simmonds



The relationship between the sea surface temperature (SST) distribution and the locations of thunderstorms during four Australian east coast lows is investigated using both lightning observations and numerical simulation results. The focus is placed on investigating changes in convective instability caused by the introduction of complex, high-resolution ocean eddy, and frontal structures present in Bluelink SST datasets. Global Position and Tracking System lightning data are overlaid on maps of SST to investigate whether a thunderstorm–SST relationship is discernible. Weather Research and Forecast model simulations are used to establish what atmospheric changes contribute to the observed dis..

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Funding Acknowledgements

This research was funded by Lloyd's Register Foundation (LRF), a UK registered charity and sole shareholder of Lloyd's Register Group Ltd, which invests in science, engineering, and technology for public benefit, worldwide. Prasanth Divakaran provided valuable help in working with the BRAN data. The University of Melbourne provided additional financial support for this work. This work forms part of an international research network headed by Prof. Jinyu Sheng of Dalhousie University, investigating extreme marine events.