Weekend-weekday aerosols and geographic variability in cloud-to-ground lightning for the urban region of Atlanta, Georgia, USA

J. Anthony Stallins, James Carpenter, Mace L. Bentley, Walker S. Ashley, James A. Mulholland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


We characterized the differences in warm-season weekday and weekend aerosol conditions and cloud-to-ground (CG) flashes (1995-2008) for an 80,000 square kilometer region around Atlanta, Georgia, a city of 5. 5 million in the humid subtropics of the southeastern United States. An integration of distance-based multivariate techniques (hierarchical agglomerative clustering, multiresponse permutation procedures, fuzzy kappa statistics, and Mantel tests) indicated a greater concentration of CG flash activity within a 100 km radius around Atlanta under weekday aerosol concentrations. On weekends, these effects contracted toward the city. This minimized any weekly anthropogenic cycle over the more densely populated urban center even though this location had a higher flash density, a higher percentage of days with flashes, and stronger peak currents over the course of a week compared to the surrounding region. The sharper contrasts in weekday and weekend lightning regime developed outside the perimeter of the city over nonurban land uses. Here, lightning on weekend and weekdays differed more in its density, frequency, polarity, and peak current. Across the full extent of the study region, weekday peak currents were stronger and flash days more frequent, suggesting that weekly CG lightning signals have a regional component not tied to a single city source. We integrate these findings in a conceptual model that illustrates the dependency of weekly anthropogenic weather signals on spatial and temporal extent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-151
Number of pages15
JournalRegional Environmental Change
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • Aerosols
  • Bioclimatology
  • Climate change
  • GIS
  • Lightning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change


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