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LEE: Lake Effect Electrification


The Lake-Effect Electrification (LEE) Project is focused over and east (the typical downwind/leeside) of Lake Ontario during the cool season. Project LEE aims to document, for the first time, the total lightning and electrical charge structures of lake-effect storms and the associated storm environment using a lightning mapping array (LMA), a dual-polarization X-band radar, and balloon soundings that will measure vertical profiles of temperature, humidity, wind, electric field, and hydrometeor types. Previous work has shown that the Great Lakes, especially Lake Ontario, initiate lightning in a mix of precipitation types during lake-effect storms. Most of the Lake Ontario lightning occurs during single, long-axis precipitation bands. Several questions still remain, such as explaining the preponderance of positive polarity lightning in some lake-effect and similar sea-effect storms (e.g., Japan), and why there has been a climatological shift in maximum lake-effect lightning occurrence from over Lake Ontario to farther inland. This is likely due to the recent wind farm construction in this area, but there are still many unknowns on how these turbines produce lightning. Project LEE also affords the opportunity to improve observations of convective-to-stratiform electrical development due to the shallowness of lake-effect storms and the proximity of these processes to the ground. Finally, lake-effect storm conditions represent minimal thresholds for lightning initiation as many of these storms do not produce lightning.

Data access

Datasets from this project

Additional information

Field catalog

Temporal coverage

Begin Date 2022-09-01 00:00:00
End Date 2023-03-01 23:59:59

Spatial coverage

Map data from IBCSO, IBCAO, and Global Topography.

Maximum (North) Latitude: 50.00, Minimum (South) Latitude: 35.00
Minimum (West) Longitude: -85.00, Maximum (East) Longitude: -65.00