JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH;
OCT 31 2008.
Web of Science Citations:
This paper presents a study about the sensitivity of cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning activity to changes in surface air temperature at daily, monthly, yearly, and decadal timescales in the city of Sao Paulo (Brazil). Lightning data collected in the city by the Brazilian Lightning Detection Network (BrasilDat) from 1999 to 2006 and thunderstorm day data obtained from 1951 to 2006 were analyzed and compared with surface air temperature data. The lightning activity increases significantly with increasing temperature, with a sensitivity of approximately 40% per 1 degrees C for daily and monthly timescales and approximately 30% per 1 degrees C for decadal timescale. For the yearly timescale suggests that the lightning sensitivity to changes in surface air temperature decreases for larger timescales, in agreement with what is expected on the basis of convective adjustment. The decadal lightning sensitivity found in this study is in reasonable agreement with the increase in the global lightning activity estimated by most climate models. The study is the first to investigate in detail this relationship in a large urban area inside the tropics and should contribute to the effort to understand the impact of the global warming on lightning activity. (AU)