Earth Networks developing enhanced lightning detection system

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Earth Networks, an operator of weather and climate sensor networks worldwide, has announced the development of a new lightning detection product derived from the company’s Total Lightning Network (ENTLN) and the GOES-East Satellite’s Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM). The GLM is the first lightning detector in a geostationary orbit transmitting lightning flashes in the Western Hemisphere. Earth Networks’s upcoming product adds significant value to lightning data from the GLM by augmenting it with detection data and diagnostics from ENTLN, such as classification, amplitude, polarity and location accuracy. This enhancement to GLM data will improve the GLM’s native location accuracy by 20 to 40 times. With ENTLN detecting 95% of cloud-to-ground lightning seen by the GLM, this high-resolution accuracy will be crucial in situations where locating lightning strikes with greater precision is required. The new product is expected to be available to customers in the second quarter of 2018. Michael Stock, principal lightning scientist at Earth Networks, said, “The deployment of GLM last year represents a major advancement in space-based optical lightning detection. Together with our ground-based network we can improve the data from GLM, by enriching it with important information for users, such as whether the strike was in-cloud or cloud-to-ground, identifying amplitude and pinpointing its location to within 200m (656ft).” Lightning detection is critical for the advanced notification of severe weather phenomena such as cloud-to-ground lightning strikes, heavy rain, high winds, hail and tornadoes. The ENTLN includes more than 1,500 ground-based sensors and provides total lightning data to many US agencies including NOAA, NASA and the Department of Transportation. The network also powers advanced severe weather alerts for real-time monitoring and notification to enterprises and organizations.

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