Master of Science (MS)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



Lightning is one of the most impactful weather phenomena but yet little precise and accurate information is known about how its frequency is impacted climatologically by changes in land use/land cover (LULC). This is unfortunate because LULC changes occur ubiquitously as the human influence on the environment proceeds. This research uses NOAA’s gridded annual lightning data from the National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN), and LULC classification data from the NOAA coastal change analysis program (C-CAP) to analyze frequency changes in lightning across a swath of Louisiana, coastal Mississippi, and coastal east Texas over the years 1995–2011. Results suggest that urban areas have the highest frequency of CG lightning, but there is little variation in lightning over the course of the temporal period examined. The implications of this work will provide planners and regional analysts more insight as to how some LULC categories attract more lightning than others, as well as how CG lightning is sporadic and complicated to model. Some limitations of this research are that the lightning data utilized in this study are not point data, complicating the measurement of spatial shifts in lightning occurrence since raster cells are fixed to a specific latitude and longitude. Therefore, continued work is needed to further understand the relationship between human influence on the landscape and the lightning risk. Results presented here and in future work will be useful to environmental planners as they work to understand and mitigate the lightning hazard.



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Committee Chair

Rohli, Robert