92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012: 4:00 PM
Total Lightning Detection with Advanced Early Warning
Room 356 (New Orleans Convention Center )
William Callahan, Earth Networks, Germantown, MD

The ability to detect total lightning (TL) at high detection efficiencies has implications for severe weather detection, tracking and alerting that the meteorological community has been pursing for years. While technologies capable of detecting total lighting, such as Lightning Mapper Array's (LMA's) have existed for quite some time, the associated line-of-sight requirements and high costs of operations have severely limited the scalability of these monitoring systems. As such, only a small number of limited area networks have been established further restricting advanced research and the early warning benefits that total lightning detection offers.

In 2008, Earth Networks launched the Earth Networks Total Lightning Network (ENTLN) a world-wide total lightning network initiative that has dramatically changed the game with respect to lightning detection. Leveraging broadband technology, compact sensor design and sophisticated processing techniques ENTLN is comprised of densely deployed, continental scale networks both throughout the United States and globally that are capable of detecting not only cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning on par with or beyond the performance capabilities of existing CG networks, but also TL with detection metrics approaching those of limited area LMA's. In this manner, storm-scale convective initiation features can be observed early in the process and in near real-time subsequently enabling the automated production of lightning cell tracking derivative products, which identify convective initiation in its earliest stages and tracks ‘storms of interest' throughout their life cycles. Additionally, during Hurricane Irene ENTLN data was used to develop correlations between total lightning flash rates and tropical cyclone intensification. These advanced capabilities provide forecasters and decision makers with substantially greater insight into severe storm evolution. And most importantly, this translates into valuable additional warning lead-times of impending high impact weather events and much needed time for affected constituents to take action.

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