TJ14.2 Early Operational Applications of Geostationary Lightning Mapper Data for National Weather Service Operations

Tuesday, 8 January 2019: 3:15 PM
North 231AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Christopher J. Stumpf, NOAA/NWSFO, Huntsville, AL; and K. D. White, C. M. Gravelle, and G. T. Stano

In June 2018, twenty-one National Weather Service forecast offices began evaluating products from the GOES-16 Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM). These offices received pre-operational 1-minute and 5-minute summations of Flash Extent Density, Average Flash Area, and Total Optical Energy products that update every minute. While the goal of the evaluation was to provide feedback on the operational usability of these initial GLM products, this was also the first opportunity for many forecasters to get a glimpse of the unique opportunities and challenges that GLM presents.

The most significant challenge is that the GLM is an optical sensor that observes the radiant energy and spatial extent of lightning, as opposed to the point data from most ground-based lightning detection networks. This paradigm shift from point data to complete spatial data marks a change that may take time for forecasters to fully absorb and apply effectively. Furthermore, it is still early in the operational implementation of the GLM, so there have been limited opportunities to develop a library of real-time applications. This presentation will include a variety of operational examples of how GLM data can be used in conjunction with ground-based networks. These use cases will provide the foundation for using lightning observations for convective assessment and impact-based decision support services.

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