A Comparison of Ground Based Lightning Networks: Earth Networks Total Lightning, National Lightning Detection Network, and Lightning Mapping Arrays

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Wednesday, 5 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Tiffany C. Meyer, NOAA/Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; and K. M. Calhoun, M. Elliott, and J. Kurtz

Handout (9.2 MB)

Intracloud (IC) lightning is better correlated to storm severity than cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning. Currently in Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs), most forecasters are limited to CG detections from the National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN), yet the majority of lightning that occurs are IC flashes. Lightning Mapping Arrays (LMAs) have been used in research to detect and examine total lightning, however there are currently only seven LMAs in the US with real-time capability. Areal coverage of these networks is limited (roughly 200 km), so only a few WFOs have access to this data. Earth Networks Total Lightning Network (ENTLN) has hundreds of sensors covering the U.S. reporting both IC and CG lightning, but detection efficiency and location accuracy across the CONUS has yet to be formally documented. Currently WFOs have access to ENTLN data through an external Windows browser, but it will soon be added as a baseline product in AWIPS II. This project compares ENTLN to the currently used LMAs and NLDN to determine the strengths, weaknesses, and best practices of the data in warning operations.