Articles | Volume 10, issue 1
06 Jun 2013
 | 06 Jun 2013

A cloud-to-ground lightning climatology for north-eastern Italy

L. Feudale, A. Manzato, and S. Micheletti

Abstract. This study analyzes the spatial distribution and temporal characteristics of cloud-to-ground lightnings (C2G) in the North East of Italy and the neighboring areas of Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. The dataset consists of about 6.5 millions C2G flash records, both positive and negative, observed between January 1995 and December 2011 by the "Centro Elettrotecnico Sperimentale Italiano-Sistema Italiano Rilevamento Fulmini'' (CESI/SIRF), part of the European Cooperation for Lightning Detection (EUCLID) Network.

The results show that C2G lightnings concentrate in the foothill regions on the southern flank of the Eastern Alps with a maximum of discharge frequency of 10 lightnings per km2 per year. The number of C2G strokes varies with the period of the year: the most active period for lightning starts in April and lasts through November with the highest number of C2G strokes happening during the summer months of July and August, with maximum spatial density slightly moving from the mountain to the coastal area. The least frequency of C2G strokes is observed during wintertime. The mean diurnal C2G lightning activity for the whole domain shows a peak around 16:00–17:00 UTC and reaches a minimum around 07:00–09:00 UTC; the mean spatial distribution follows different patterns depending on the period of the day.