Senior Honors Projects, 2020-current

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Department of Integrated Science and Technology


Mace L. Bentley

Declan Cannon

John Haynes


This investigation examined the frequency and spatial pattern of lightning in the continental United States from 2002 to 2015. Before analysis, flashes were grouped based on their El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phase and Spatial Synoptic Classification (SSC) type for the winter season (December, January, and February). The purpose of this study is to better understand the relationship between planetary teleconnections, synoptic scale air masses, and micro scale phenomena, specifically lightning, in the continental United States. Evidence suggests ENSO cold phase flashes tend to have a lower frequency in number of flashes and flash days, as well as a northward geographic distribution away from the Gulf of Mexico, compared to the warm and neutral phase lightning. ENSO warm phase lightning flashes tended to exhibit more flashes and flash days than cold phase as well as geographic distributions heavily clustered along the Gulf Coast. Warm phase lightning also demonstrated the most flashes in the region of the Arizona monsoonal flow.



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