Lightning Mapping Arrays: Recent Developments

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Monday, 5 January 2015
Dan Rodeheffer, New Mexico Tech/Lightning Mapping Array, Socorro, NM; and W. Rison, R. J. Thomas, H. E. Edens, P. R. Krehbiel, and G. Aulich

At the 2013 Annual meeting we reported on the development of standalone stations that are solar powered and utilize cell data modems for real-time processing and monitoring. The stations have a 4'x 4' footprint on the ground and are readily deployable in RF quiet locations for improved network sensitivity. Networks employing this design were set up in Houston, West Texas, and North Colorado, in collaboration with Texas A&M, Texas Tech University, and Colorado State University, and were used along with the Oklahoma and North Alabama networks in support of the 2012 DC3 Atmospheric Chemistry study. In 2014 a similar network was set up for Environment Canada in Toronto.

Here we report on the development of a more readily deployable version of the solar stations, which has found application both for sitetest purposes and for field campaigns. An initial network was operated in Southern France in cooperation with NASA Huntsville and the University of Toulouse as part of the 2012 HyMeX study of Mediterranean coastal storms. Subsequently, a dedicated 9-station network was operated at Kennedy Space Center in 2012-2013, then in a Kansas wind farm study in the summer of 2013, and is most recently deployed at the cosmic ray Telescope Array in central Utah. A second network is being operated in South Dakota during the summer of 2014 in collaboration with the South Dakota School of Mines, in support of the UPLIGHTS study of upward lightning discharges from tall towers and DARPA studies of sprites and related phenomena. The sitetest networks are becoming increasingly useful for field campaigns, with additional deployments being planned for the study of winter thunderstorms and volcanic lightning in Japan.