Lightning network data, considered as a useful supplement to radar observations, are a good indicator of severe convection, and has high temporal and spatial resolution. In Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models, lightning data are a new source of data to improve the forecasting of convective systems. In this case study, lightning data assimilation is conducted by converting lightning data to water vapor mixing ratio via a simple smooth continuous function, with input variables of total flash rate and simulated graupel mixing ratio at 9 km gridded resolution. Relative humidity converted from the retrieved water vapor mixing ratio is assimilated into the background field utilizing the three-dimensional variational (3DVAR) method in WRFDA (the Weather Research and Forecasting model Data Assimilation system). The benefits of assimilating lightning data are demonstrated in a series of experiments using data from a strong convection event that affected Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and Shandong Province, on 31 July 2007. A nested domain with resolutions of 9 km and 3 km is implemented. For this case, assimilating lightning data shows some improvements in predictions of both reflectivity and neighboring precipitation, and in the temperature, dew-point temperature and relative humidity profile after seven hours.
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