Forecaster Use of Total Lightning Data for Short-Term Forecasts and Warnings in the Hazardous Weather Testbed

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Monday, 5 January 2015: 5:15 PM
225AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Kristin M. Calhoun, CIMMS/Univ. of Oklahoma/NOAA/NSSL, Norman, OK

Until recently, the detection and monitoring of total lightning has been primarily utilized within research activity or for unique events such as space missions. Tools developed to monitor total lightning such as the Lightning Mapping Array (LMA) and the satellite-based Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS) have been greatly employed by the research community during field programs and for case and climatology studies. The results from these studies have not only recapitulated the ties between lightning rates and storm intensity but have also sparked increased interest from the forecasting community for more data integration into operations. Meanwhile, private industry (e.g., Earth Networks and Vaisala) have developed ground-based sensors to monitor total lightning and the future also holds the promise of CONUS-wide, continuous, total lightning monitoring from geostationary satellites. Since 2010, the Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT) has been successfully utilized to provide forecasters with a first-hand look at the latest research concepts and products integrating total lightning data while also educating lightning research scientists on the challenges, needs, and constraints of National Weather Service (NWS) warning forecasters. Each year, a new group of NWS forecasters has evaluated the utility of real time total lightning data from various networks (e.g., LMAs and ENI) and derivative-decision support algorithms such as the lightning jump and dangerous thunderstorm alerts within their warning-decision process. This presentation will visit the recent history of total lightning use in warning operations as well as current and future plans for implementation, use, and training.