Lightning-Based Severe Weather Tracking and Alerting Technology Receives U.S. Patent

  • Oct 13, 2014

Patented Technology Powers Earth Networks’ Automated Dangerous Thunderstorm Alerts

Germantown, MD – October 13, 2014 – Advanced technology that uses lightning flash rates to track storm cells and issue faster, potentially life-saving alerts for severe weather is the focus of a patent granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Earth Networks, the parent company of WeatherBug, received the patent for the technology, which relates to techniques for using the location, speed, direction and intensity of lightning activity to automatically identify and alert geographical areas at risk for severe weather.

The patented technology powers lightning-based alerts, called Dangerous Thunderstorm Alerts (DTAs). DTAs are issued on the WeatherBug app for smartphones, professional enterprise solutions for industries – such as aviation, oil and gas, mining and electric utilities – that must manage weather risks, and as data feeds from Earth Networks – WeatherBug. DTAs, which can improve alert times by 50% over traditional warnings, are currently issued in the U.S. and also internationally within the company’s data feeds in areas such as Central and South America, Europe, Japan and Australia.  Expansion into other geographies is underway.

“Minutes matter when it comes to severe weather,” says Earth Networks CEO Bob Marshall. “As extreme weather continues to take a tragic toll, we are dedicated to bringing critical alerts to help save lives and livelihoods worldwide. This patented, lightning-based alerting technology, combined with a public-private partnership approach with government agencies throughout the world, will alert any person with a mobile phone that severe weather is imminent.”

The patented technology utilizes real-time flash data collected by the largest “total” lightning sensor network in the world – the Earth Networks Total Lightning Network (ENTLN). “Total” lightning includes both cloud-to-ground and, importantly, in-cloud lightning. Jumps in total lightning flash rates are used to predict the onset of severe weather, including heavy rain, large hail, dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning strikes, tornadoes and downburst winds. When total lightning rates exceed “severe” thresholds, there is an increased threat for severe weather, and Dangerous Thunderstorm Alerts are automatically issued.

The Earth Networks Total Lightning Network monitors total lightning minute-by-minute across the continental U.S. and many other areas, including Brazil, Australia, India, Japan, Turkey, China and West Africa. Data from the ENTLN is used by NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the U.S. Air Force.

Earth Networks: Powering WeatherBug & WeatherBug Home

For 20 years, we have been Taking the Pulse of the Planet® using the world’s largest weather, lightning and greenhouse gas monitoring networks. Our sensors across the planet keep consumers, businesses, and governments informed, updated and alerted. Our popular WeatherBug® brand provides neighborhood-level weather, superior forecasts and advanced severe weather alerts to millions. Our WeatherBug Home offering taps big weather and connected home data for improved energy efficiency and comfort. Enterprises such as schools, airports, professional sports teams, utilities and government agencies rely on our early warning solutions to safeguard lives, prepare for weather events, and optimize operations. Know Before®.