November 21, 2021
Journal Article

A Storm Safari in Subtropical South America: Proyecto RELAMPAGO


This article provides an overview of the experimental design, execution, education and public outreach, data collection, and initial scientific results from the Remote sensing of Electrification, Lightning, And Mesoscale/microscale Processes with Adaptive Ground Observations (RELAMPAGO) field campaign. RELAMPAGO was a major field campaign conducted in Córdoba and Mendoza provinces in Argentina, and western Rio Grande do Sul State in Brazil in 2018-2019 that involved more than 200 scientists and students from the US, Argentina, and Brazil. This campaign was motivated by the physical processes and societal impacts of deep convection that frequently initiates in this region, often along the complex terrain of the Sierras de Córdoba and Andes, and often grows rapidly upscale into dangerous storms that impact society. Observed storms during the experiment produced copious hail, intense flash flooding, extreme lightning flash rates and other unusual lightning phenomena, but no tornadoes. The 5 distinct scientific foci of RELAMPAGO: convection initiation, severe weather, upscale growth, hydrometeorology, and lightning and electrification are described, as are the deployment strategies to observe physical processes relevant to these foci. The campaign’s international cooperation, forecasting efforts, and mission planning strategies enabled a successful data collection effort. In addition, the legacy of RELAMPAGO in South America, including extensive multi-national education, public outreach, and social media data-gathering associated with the campaign, is summarized.

Published: November 21, 2021


Nesbitt S.W., P. Salio, E.E. Avila, P. Bitzer, L. Carey, V. Chandrasekar, and W. Deierling, et al. 2021. "A Storm Safari in Subtropical South America: Proyecto RELAMPAGO." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 102, no. 8:E1621-E1644. PNNL-SA-157120. doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-20-0029.1