Second Conference on Meteorological Applications of Lightning Data
AMS Forum: Environmental Risk and Impacts on Society: Successes and Challenges


Societal aspects and impacts of lightning detection technology.

Richard E. Orville, Texas A&M Univ., College Sation, TX

The societal aspects and impacts of lightning detection technology can be traced from the beginning installations of the magnetic direction finders with cloud-to-ground lightning location capability first developed by E. Krider and M. Uman in the late 1970's and installed nationwide beginning in June 1983. Information from the direction finders aided in detecting forest fires and the management of outages to electric power utility installations. Indeed, it was the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) that first recognized the significance of the new lightning detection capability and subsequently funded the six-year project (1983-1989) to cover the continental United States with magnetic direction finders. The result was the National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN™). During this time, utility companies were quick to grasp the significance of the technology to assist in the repair of equipment damaged by lightning and the ability to track thunderstorms. Airlines followed and were reasonably quick to appreciate the value of lightning tracking. Golf courses and major golf tournaments were interested, but cautious as legal implications were discussed and considered. The reliability of the NLDN continued to improve through the 1990's so that now it is an accepted part of the daily newscast. Technology, twenty years later, continues to advance lightning detection technology. We are now on the threshold of technology that allows us to map the “total lightning” picture of channels, or the three-dimensional path in space and time with an accuracy in hundreds of meters and a time resolution measured in microseconds. The social aspects of this latest technology and its impact are the subject of intense interest and will conclude this presentation.wrf recording  Recorded presentation

Joint Session 1, Advances in Understanding of Lightning and Potential Economic and Societal Benefits (Joint with Second Conference on Meteorological Applications of Lightning Data and Forum on Environmental Risks and Impacts on Society: Successes and Challenges)
Monday, 30 January 2006, 1:30 PM-2:30 PM, A311

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