Researchers have long known that in-cloud lightning often serves as an early indicator of extreme weather – from heavy rain and hail to dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning strikes and tornadoes.
Worldwide Lightning Detection Provides Advanced Severe Weather Prediction and Alerting
Our Total Lightning NetworkTM is the first in-cloud lightning and cloud-to-ground detection network deployed on a global basis. It includes 1,200+ sensors (the world’s largest) that incorporate patent-pending systems and technology to provide unmatched in-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning detection – total lightning detection.
A variety of government agencies, such as the National Weather Service, the Air Force Weather Agency, and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility and organizations that include public safety and emergency response agencies, airports, and utilities rely on information from the Earth Networks Total Lightning Network to make informed decisions.
Our unique capabilities detect long-range in-cloud lightning at high efficiencies, which are critical for the advanced prediction of severe weather such as:
- Tornadoes and cyclones
- Heavy rainfall and monsoons
- Downburst and wind shear
- Cloud-to-Ground lightning strikes
These potentially deadly weather events often occur within 5 to 30 minutes of in-cloud flash initiation. TheTotal Lightning Network has demonstrated the ability to significantly improve severe weather warning times over radar and other technologies by incorporating highly advanced predictive capabilities that are crucial for characterizing severe storm precursors, improving severe storm warning lead times, and comprehensive weather management planning.
The Largest Lightning Sensor Network
Our total lightning network has expanded to include more than 1,200 sensors in more than 40 countries around the world, including North and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia. Total Lightning Network commands the dense sensor deployment needed to achieve high efficiency capture of total lightning activity.
Unique Lightning Detection Characteristics
Cloud-to-ground lightning represents only a small percentage of the total lightning discharges that occur in the atmosphere. However, in-cloud lightning flashes account for the vast majority of lightning activity. High detection efficiency of in-cloud lightning for discharges, combined with advanced analytics and display capabilities, enable improved lead times for identification of storm cell growth and development to improve early storm warning capability. The Total Lightning Network has the demonstrated ability to significantly improve severe weather warning times over radar and other technologies with lead times of up to 30 minutes, when minutes matter.
Two distinguishing characteristics separate Earth Networks it from other lightning offerings.
Earth Networks is the leader in environmental network deployment and has leveraged its existing infrastructure to implement a dense network of high frequency sensors that employ modern microprocessor technology. The ENLS is a compact, fully automated sensor with no moving parts and is easily interfaced with modular connectors. This enables easy installation, better reliability, a smaller operational footprint, and low maintenance. No site survey is required.
Total Lightning Detection and Severe Weather Alerting
The network’s ability to detect both in-cloud and cloud-to-ground flash signals at high efficiencies makes it practical to track and predict severe weather in real time. By using the total lightning data and a real-time lightning cell tracking system, the Earth Networks Dangerous Thunderstorm Alert (DTA) system has been developed.
A DTA is issued when the ENTLN detects a high frequency of lightning, which indicates the increased potential for:
- Cloud-to-ground lightning strikes
- Heavy rain
- High winds
- Downburst winds
- Tornadic activity
The Dangerous Thunderstorm Alert appears as a purple alert area polygon accompanied by an associated text alert. The DTA can be used to enhance weather monitoring systems operated by national meteorological associations, or may be utilized in areas where meteorological tools such as radar are unavailable — serving as a vital missing link that can help save lives and protect property.
Earth Networks provides total lightning data via standard application program interfaces (APIs), desktop visualization tools such as StreamerRT, and Google Earth.