Evaluating Ground-Based Lightning Detection Networks using TRMM/LIS Observations

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Monday, 5 January 2015: 11:00 AM
225AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Scott D. Rudlosky, NOAA/NESDIS, College Park, MD

Many meteorological applications use lightning observations from both ground- and space-based lightning detection systems. These systems detect optical or radiometric emissions from lightning, and their data are growing in importance to scientists and operational weather forecasters. Total lightning observations are useful for both storm warning and public safety applications. As the variety of users expands, it becomes increasingly important to understand the detection capabilities of these networks. This paper briefly introduces multi-scale lightning observations, and then describes the performance of ground-based lightning detection networks. This study evaluates data from the Global Lightning Dataset 360 (GLD360), World Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN), and WeatherBug Earth Networks Total Lightning Network (ENTLN) relative to the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS). Direct flash-by-flash comparisons allow analysis of the relative detection efficiency (i.e., assuming LIS is truth), the location and timing differences between matched flashes, and the characteristics of matched and unmatched flashes. This information will help lightning vendors better characterize their network performance, and will provide operational users with important insights as lightning data use continues to grow.