Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM)

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Tuesday, 31 January 2006: 11:30 AM
Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM)
A307 (Georgia World Congress Center)
Hugh J. Christian Jr., NASA/MSFC, Huntsville, AL

NOAA is currently developing a Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) for the GOES-R series of satellites. Once in orbit, the GLM will provide unprecedented observations on thunderstorm evolution over most of the Western Hemisphere. For the first time from high earth orbit, information will be provided from deep within the heart of thunderclouds, not from just their upper layer. The GLM will provide continous measurements of lightning and ice-phase precipitation. These measurements will be used to:

1. Diagnose and forecast the transient evolution of severe storm events, such as tornadoes, microbursts, hail storms and flash floods.

2. Improve mesoscale model forecasts and satellite-based retrievals of convective properties.

3. Improve forecast models through rapid-update assimilation of lightning data.

4. Examine the seasonal to interannual variability of storms and to develop a lightning climatology.

For operations and applications, the GLM will contribute to:

Predicting the onset of microbusts, hail and tornadoes. Tracking thunderstorms and providing warnings of approaching lightning threats. Improving airline routing around thunderstorms, improving safety, saving fuel and reducing delays. Providing real-time weather data, improving efficiency of emergency management. Locating lightning strikes known to cause forest fires and reducing response times Assessing the role of thunderstorms and deep convection in global climate Providing a new data source to improve air quality / chemistry forecasts

The GLM will be required to detect over 70% of the total lightning that occurs within its field of view during the day and night. It will be required to geolocate each lightning to at 10 km. with high time resolution. It will sample each location within its field of view continuously and distribute the lightning data in near real-time with less than one minute latency.

This presentation will discuss GLM performance requirements and address some of the scientific and operational capabilities that could be realized with the GLM. In addition, results from two low earth orbiting lightning sensors will be presented.