2014 International Conference on Atmospheric Electricity

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 4.24.49 PMLightning Experts from Around the World to Meet in Norman June 15-20

More than 200 national and international lightning experts have gathered this week in Norman, Oklahoma, for what organizers have called “the most important international conference on atmospheric electricity in the world.”  Held every four years, the 2014 International Conference on Atmospheric Electricity is co-hosted by the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory and the University of Oklahoma’s College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences and features the latest research on lightning and other electrical phenomena in the atmosphere. NSSL researchers Don MacGorman and Ted Mansell are co-chairs of the event.

The conference, scheduled for June 15 through 20 at the National Center for Employee Development Conference Center, is supported by the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics and the International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences.

Research about a new instrument to be launched on the next weather satellite will be presented.  This instrument will map where lightning occurs over both land and ocean in much of the hemisphere, including over the United States. Scientists are investigating how these new data can be used to improve the NOAA National Weather Service’s warnings and forecasts of hazardous weather.

Additional topics to be discussed include how thunderstorms become electrified; how storms initiate lightning flashes; what controls where lightning channels go; what influences which objects are struck by lightning; what processes affect the various kinds of discharges observed above storms, such as sprites, blue jets, and elves; and what causes the electric current that constantly flows through the atmosphere in fair weather.

Lightning experts have traveled from countries including England, France, Brazil, China, Russia, Poland and Japan. The last time the U.S. hosted was in 1999.