NWA Remote Sensing Committee
Lightning is the second highest cause of weather-related deaths in the United States annually, and produces considerable damage by initiating fires and disrupting communications and power transmission systems. Remote sensing technology is becoming increasingly important in the detection of lightning-producing convective storms.
The National Lightning Data Network (NLDN), operated by Vaisala, Inc., provides continuous cloud-to-ground lightning strike data to a variety of government, commercial, and public users. Other ground-based time of arrival type networks include the U. S. Precision Lightning Network, Inc., operated by WSI, Inc., and the Earth Networks Total Lightning Network, which observes both in-cloud and cloud-to-ground strikes.
A space-based Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS), developed by NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, is flown on the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite. A Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) was implemented on GOES-R/16, launched in November, 2016, as recommended by the NWA.
Listed below are some resources that provide useful information on lightning, including remote sensing capabilities:
- NASA Lightning Primer
(Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL)
- NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL)
- NOAA Lightning Page
- Space sensors (NASA Marshall)
- Geospace Physics Lab (Florida Inst. of Technology)
- High speed lightning cameras
Realtime Lightning Strike Information
- Alaska daily totals, Alaska Fire Service
- Canada Lightning Network, Environment Canada
- Intellicast (WSI Corp.)
- LightningMaps.org (Blitzortung.org)
- Local Lightning Mapper Array (LMA) Networks
- NCAR Research Applications Laboratory (noaa.gov or ncar.edu users only)
- StrikeStar Network (Astrogenics, Inc)
- World Wide Lighting Location Network, University of Washington, Seattle
- High Resolution Rapid Refresh (NOAA/ESRL)
Papers of Note
- Estimating lightning from microwave remote sensing data 2016 by B. Magi et al.
- The impact of lightning data assimilation on deterministic and ensemble forecasts of convective events 2016, K. Dixon et al.
- Seasonal, Monthly and Weekly Distributions of NLDN and GLD360 Cloud to Ground Lightning, 2016 by R. Holle, et al.
- Improved lightning cessation guidance using polarimetric radar data. 2016, by A. Preston and H. Fuelberg
- Insight into the kinematic and microphysical processes that control lightning jumps 2015, by C. Schulz et al.
- TRMM LIS climatology of thunderstorm occurrence and conditional lightning flash rates. 2015 by D. Cecil et al.
- Examinging deep convective cloud evolution using total lightning, WSR-88D, and GOES-14 Super Rapid Scan datasets. by K. Bedka et al.
- An evaluation of the efficacy of using observed lightning to improve convective lightning forecasts. 2015, by B. Lynn et al.
- Total Lightning Observations and Tools for the 20 May 2013 Moore, OK Tornadic Supercell 2014 by G. T. Spano et al.
Commercial Lightning Systems and Services (For information only; not an endorsement by the NWA)
- Boltek, Inc.
- EarthNetworks, Inc
- Sky Scan, Inc.
- Thorguard, Inc.
- TOA Systems, Inc.
- U. S. Precision Lightning Network, Inc.
- Vaisala, Inc.
The National Weather Association (NWA) provides this information for the benefit of members and guests. Reference in this Web site to any specific information, commercial products, process, service, manufacturer, or company does not constitute its endorsement or recommendation by the NWA. The NWA is not responsible for the contents of any "off-site" Web page referenced from this Web site. To provide feedback to the NWA staff and volunteers who maintain this page or to ask for further information on this topic, please contact the NWA Remote Sensing Committee
Last modified - 13 December 2017