Date of Award

4-2016

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautics

Department

Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Christopher G. Herbster, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

John M. Lanicci, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Fredrick R. Mosher, Ph.D.

Abstract

Government spaceports employ extensive lightning detection networks that may not be available at commercial spaceports. Therefore, the Federal Aviation Administration identified the need for diagnosing the threat of triggered lightning without in-situ measurements. Anecdotal observations of the Aviation Weather Center’s Current Icing Potential (CIP) diagnostic model indicated a potentially high correlation between lightning activity and icing potential. A forecast verification study and supporting representative case studies were conducted to quantify the CIP’s ability to diagnose existing lightning hazards. The study showed that high positive statistical correlations between the CIP and lightning activity do exist, but so do negative correlations. During the forecast verification study, the CIP’s ability to diagnose lightning hazards was found to be ineffective due to extensive over-prediction, and, perhaps more importantly, a failure to capture both lightning initiation and cessation. Case study analysis confirmed the CIP’s inability to capture lightning initiation and cessation.

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