Spatial pattern and land surface features associated with cloud-to-ground lightning in Bangladesh : an exploratory study

Dewan, Ashraf and Islam, K. M. Ashraful and Fariha, Tanzim Rahman and Murshed, Md Mahbub and Ishtiaque, Asif and Adnan, Mohammed Sarfaraz Gani and Kabir, Zobaidul and Chowdhury, Mohammad Barad Hossain (2022) Spatial pattern and land surface features associated with cloud-to-ground lightning in Bangladesh : an exploratory study. Earth Systems and Environment, 6 (2). pp. 437-451. ISSN 2509-9434 (

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Severe weather events such as lightning appear to be a significant threat to humans and property in South Asia, an area known for intense convective activity directly related to the tropical climate of these areas. The current study was conducted in Bangladesh and examined the association between cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning and ground surface properties, with the aim of improving existing knowledge regarding this phenomenon. GLD360 data from 2015 to 2020 were used to describe the seasonal lightning climatology. Elevation, land use and land cover, vegetation and surface heat flux data were used to examine all land surface features possibly associated with CG lightning occurrence. Hot and cold spot spatial patterning was calculated using local indicators of spatial association. Results indicated a strong CG lightning seasonality. CG stroke density varied considerably across seasons with the pre-monsoon exhibiting the highest density. This was followed by occurrences in the monsoon season. The March–June period experienced 73% of the total observed. Elevation appeared to influence the post-monsoon CG stroke, however, its role in the other seasons was more difficult to define. The land cover/lightning index indicated that waterbodies and herbaceous wetlands had more influence than other land cover types, both during the day and at night, and it appeared that latent heat flux played a major role. The CG stroke hot and cold spot locations varied diurnally. The findings suggest that large-scale irrigation practices, especially during the pre-monsoon months, can influence the observed spatiotemporal pattern. The production of hotspot maps could be an initial step in the development of a reliable lightning monitoring system and play a part in increasing public awareness of this issue.


Dewan, Ashraf, Islam, K. M. Ashraful, Fariha, Tanzim Rahman, Murshed, Md Mahbub, Ishtiaque, Asif, Adnan, Mohammed Sarfaraz Gani ORCID logoORCID:, Kabir, Zobaidul and Chowdhury, Mohammad Barad Hossain;