Spatial analyses of cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning occurrence due to a rapid expansion in the number of antenna towers across the United States are explored by gridding 20 years of National Lightning Detection Network data at 500 m spatial resolution. The 99.8% of grid cells with ≥100 CGs were within 1 km of an antenna tower registered with the Federal Communications Commission. Tower height is positively correlated with CG occurrence; towers taller than 400 m above ground level experience a median increase of 150% in CG lightning density compared to a region 2 km to 5 km away. In the northern Great Plains, the cumulative CG lightning density near the tower was around 138% (117%) higher than a region 2 to 5 km away in the September–February (March–August) months. Higher CG frequencies typically also occur in the first full year following new tower construction, creating new lightning hot spots.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Geophysical Research Letters|
|Publication status||Published - 28 May 2017|