Several studies indicate that the electrical activity should increase in warmer climate scenario with less numerous but more severe thunderstorms. The expected increase of dangerous electrical atmospheric phenomenon then requires defining at present the adaptation measures and strategies to anticipate their impacts on human activities. However, we are far from understanding all the physical processes associated with natural lightning flashes and their links with the properties of their parent thunderstorms.
The EXAEDRE (EXploiting new Atmospheric Electricity Data for Research and the Environment) project aims at consolidating the activities, which started during the HyMeX (HYdrological cycle in the Mediterranean EXperiment) field campaign by the French community on the research and operational exploitation of both observations and numerical simulations in relation with atmospheric electricity.
The EXAEDRE activities rely on innovative multi-disciplinary and state of the art instrumentation and modelling tools to provide a comprehensive description of the electrical activity in thunderstorms. The EXAEDRE observational part is based on i) existing lightning data collected during HyMeX Special Observation Period (SOP1), and permanent lightning observations provided by the research SAETTA and the operational Météorage lightning locating systems, ii) new lightning observations mapped with a brand new VHF interferometer especially developed within the EXAEDRE project, iii) a dedicated field campaign over Corsica combining ground-based lightning location detection (SAETTA, Météorage, interferometer), a suite of ground-based instruments sensitive to lightning component properties and cloud electrification, the new airborne electric field mills AMPERA, a suite of airborne microphysics probes and the airborne 95 GHz Doppler cloud radar RASTA onboard the French Falcon research aircraft, and operational weather radar and satellite imagers.
The modelling part of the EXAEDRE project relies on the electrification and lightning schemes developed in the French cloud resolving model MésoNH and on the Météo-France operational model AROME for innovative investigation of lightning data assimilation Through its rather comprehensive observational and modelling approach, the EXAEDRE project will improve our knowledge on lightning physics and on the links between lightning occurrence, electrification, dynamics and microphysics.
The project will also assess the benefits of the lightning information for severe weather nowcasting and for numerical weather prediction improvement through lightning data assimilation. Finally the EXAEDRE project should also prepare the exploitation of the future optical lightning observations of the Meteosat Third Generation program.
The EXAEDRE consortium consists in Academics and Industries that are complementary and experts in their respective fields. The EXAEDRE research activities should help promote and expend industrial partner's know-how and expertise on instrumentation, data analysis and information tools. The EXEADRE outcomes will eventually provide a first set of inputs for the development of adaptation measures and strategies to ensure the safety of the community in the large sense, but also to provide key information to the decision chains and emergency agencies.
The 36-month project (1st Oct 2016-1st Oct 2019) is funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR) (contract ANR-16-CE04-0005). It is a contribution to the HyMeX (www.hymex.org) program of the MISTRALS metaprogram.
Partners: LA, CRNM, ONERA, CIELE, Météorage, [IS]2, LaMP, LATMOS, SAFIRE.