Lightning strike

Lightning Detection

NWA Remote Sensing Committee

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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:

Red ball General Information

Red ballLightning Research

Red ball Realtime Lightning Strike Information

Red ball Lightning Forecasts

Red ball Lightning Safety

Red ballPapers of NoteNew

Red ballCommercial Lightning Systems and Services (For information only; not an endorsement by the NWA)

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For comments or questions contact Gary Ellrod
Last modified - 22 September 2020