Lightning Resources

GLM Visualizations (Hover to Animate)

D.C. Lightning Mapping Array

Validation of Lightning Observations

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UMD GLM Webpage NWS VLab Webpage

The Geostationary Lightning Mapper Era has Arrived

The first Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) launched into orbit aboard the first Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R-series (GOES-R), becoming GOES-16 after reaching geostationary orbit on 29 November 2016. The GLM on GOES-16 is the first of four instruments that will provide lightning mapping over most of the western hemisphere through 2036. The GLM first light occurred on 4 January 2017, but useable ground system data were delayed until 24 April. Since then, the GLM science team has undertaken extensive efforts to calibrate and validate these data and ensure that the best operational products are available to National Weather Service (NWS) forecasters. Two overlapping efforts help characterize the GLM performance: the vendor-led Post Launch Test (PLT) phase and the Post Launch Product Test (PLPT) phase led by the GLM science team. The PLT phase validates the predicted pre-launch instrument performance and the PLPT phase validates the lightning detection product used for forecasts and warnings. A field campaign also provided valuable insights into the GLM performance capabilities. This roughly 9-week field campaign (~100 flight hours) employed a high-altitude NASA ER-2 platform coordinated with ground-based reference data over several Earth targets during March-May 2017. This successful field campaign captured roughly 800 flashes over several regions and time periods to characterize the detection efficiency, geolocation, and time-stamp accuracy. As the GLM data quality improves, simultaneous efforts aim to improve the operational utility of the GLM data. New visualizations have been developed for the NWS Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) software. Outreach efforts also leverage GLM observations to help better inform the public of the lightning hazard.

This website aims to provide a reliable source of information on GLM data, algorithms, applications, and training. The general site topics are Training, Validation, Applications, and Outreach. Training provides a basic description of lightning detection, training quick guides, conceptual models, and an inquiry form for forecasters. Validation provides GLM status updates and describes previous validation studies comparing ground-based networks to the TRMM Lightning Imaging Sensor. Applications section includes access to a GLM visualization, information on the GLM data in AWIPS, a link to the DC Lightning Mapping Array, and lightning jump statistics. Outreach illustrates GLM and ABI data, links to NWS lightning safety, shows some media coverage, and introduces our research group.

This site is maintained by Dr. Scott Rudlosky (NOAA/NESDIS/STAR) and his research team at the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites (CICS) at the University of Maryland, College Park (CICS-MD).

3-D Animation of a Side Flash / Bolt-from-the-Blue (Hover to Animate)

Lightning Visualizations (Hover to Animate)

Training/Reference Materials

Outreach Activities and Media Coverage