Lightning flash multiplicity in eastern Mediterranean thunderstorms
Cloud-to-ground lightning flashes usually consist of one or several strokes coming in very short temporal succession and close spatial proximity. A commonly used method for converting stroke data into flashes is using the National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN) thresholds of maximum temporal separation of 0.5 s and maximum lateral distance of 10 km radius between successive strokes. In the present study, we tested a location-based algorithm with several spatial and temporal ranges, and analyzed stroke data obtained by the Israel Lightning Location System (ILLS) during one year (1.8.2009–31.7.2010). We computed the multiplicity, the percentage of single stroke flashes and the geographical distribution of average multiplicity values for thunderstorms in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Results show that for the NLDN thresholds, the percentage of single stroke flashes in Israel was 37% and the average multiplicity was 1.7. We reanalyzed the data with a spatial range that equals twice the ILLS location error and shorter times. For the new thresholds of maximum distance of 2.5 km and maximum allowed temporal separation of 0.2 s we find that the mean multiplicity of negative CGs is lowered to 1.4 and find a percentage of 58% of single stroke flashes. A unique severe storm from 30 October 2009 is analyzed and compared with the annual average of 2009/2010, showing that large deviations from the mean values can occur in specific events.