Johannesburg Lightning Project Update – South Africa

  • Mar 15, 2018

Johannesburg Lightning Project Background

Carina Schumann is using our Earth Networks Total Lightning Network (ENTLN) data to aid in her research on lightning in South Africa at Wits University in Johannesburg.

These lightning sensors are part of our lightning network expansion with AfricaWeather. AfricaWeather is the largest private weather provider in Africa. Together, AfricaWeather, Weatherzone, and Earth Networks rely on total lightning data to provide clients with:

  • Storm Tracking and Visualization
  • Early Warning
  • Dangerous Thunderstorm Alerts
  • PulseRad alternative radar


Project Update & Video

Video courtesy of  Tom Warner and Carina Schumann

Project update provided by Carina Schumann

In 2017, researchers began observing lightning with high-speed cameras in Johannesburg – South Africa. South Africa has a long history of lightning research but this marks the first time that high-speed footage of lightning in South Africa was made.

The cameras record lightning at 15,000 frames per second with GPS timing of each image to correlate with other instrumentation such as electric field sensors and Lightning Location System.

Since the project started, more than 200 flashes have been recorded, with all kind of physical characteristics:

  • Downward flashes – Flashes from the cloud to the ground
  • Upward flashes- flashes that start from tall towers


Researchers can also observe different polarities and behavior of thunderstorms.  The project not only has the objective of scientific research but also the education and safety of people in Africa.

Sferic Maps continues to play a critical role in the project. Data layers that track real-time occurrences of lightning allows the researchers to initialize the equipment before a storm approaches. Storm tracking has also played an invaluable role in monitoring storms with the high-speed cameras and capturing a large number of flashes.

Learn More

To learn more about the global capabilities of ENTLN, please visit our lightning detection network page.  If you would like to see what Carina is talking about regarding Sferic Maps, sign up for a free trial today.

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