The Washington D.C. Lightning Mapping Array (DCLMA)

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Monday, 5 January 2015
Douglas Kahn, University of Maryland, College Park, MD; and S. D. Rudlosky, S. J. Goodman, R. J. Blakeslee, and J. Bailey

The Washington D.C. Lightning Mapping Array (DCLMA) is a joint demonstration project between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and 10 local site hosts. The DCLMA has been operational since 2007, providing detailed 3D lightning observations that inform decision makers about the severe weather and lightning threats. The network consists of 10 sensors that monitor very high frequency (VHF; MHz) radio waves (radiation sources) emitted by lightning. These total lightning observations provide detailed insights into the structure and evolution of convective storms, and help protect lives and property. The DCLMA has many uses, including severe storm research, public safety outreach efforts, and preparations for the planned Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM). Several recent projects have helped improve the visibility of the DCLMA and demonstrate its value for severe weather analysis and public outreach. This study uses the Warning Decision Support System Integrated Information (WDSS-II) software to visualize total lightning observations from the DCLMA and other larger-scale lightning detection networks. Relationships between these networks are explored, followed by discussion of significant lightning incidents (e.g., lightning ignited house fires) in the D.C. Region. The paper concludes with discussion of future plans for the DCLMA.