Monday, 10 January 2005
Assessments of total lightning data utility in weather forecasting
National Weather Service forecasters in Huntsville, Alabama have had access to total lightning data from the North Alabama Lightning Mapping Array (LMA) since 2003. Forecasters can monitor real-time total lightning observations on their AWIPS (Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) workstations. The lightning data is used to supplement other observations such as radar and satellite data. The lightning data is updated every 2 min, providing more timely evidence of storm growth or decay than is available from 5 min radar scans. Total lightning observations have been used to positively impact warning decisions in a number of instances. A number of approaches are being pursued to assess the usefulness of total lightning measurements to the operational forecasting community in the warning decision process. These approaches, which include both qualitative and quantitative assessment methods, will be discussed.