The NWS will continue with its Vaisala Global Lightning Dataset GLD360 contract. The GLD360 service provides real-time lightning data for the accurate, early detection and tracking of severe weather. GLD360 data is generated by a Vaisala-owned and operated network that provides uniform coverage with high detection efficiency over the entire world, complementing the continental lightning data provided by the NLDN. The Vaisala GLD360 has more lightning information than any other lightning network with daily counts routinely exceeding 1.5 million events. It also has superior location accuracy, polarity classification and peak current estimates. The GLD360 service enhances the forecasting and early warnings capability for high seas, thunderstorms, and cyclones to help customers such as the NWS make more informed decisions, increase operational safety and efficiency, and deliver better services.
The primary mission of the NWS is to provide weather forecasts and warnings for the protection of life and property. The company says its lightning data is a key parameter for severe storm tracking and for many NWS’s forecasting models. The lightning data is disseminated throughout the NWS organization and used by more than 100 regional Weather Forecast Offices across the US, as well as specialized offices including the Aviation Weather Center, the National Hurricane Center (NHC), and the Storm Prediction Center (SPC).
The NWS uses lightning data in a variety of vital public safety activities, including:
- · Forecasters use the lightning data to identify thunderstorm initiation
- · Lightning data is combined with other datasets, such as radar, to determine the intensity, life cycle, and trends of severe storms
- · The Aviation Weather Center uses the NLDN data in developing aviation products, particularly those related to convective SIGMETS
- · The SPC uses lightning data to identify and track thunderstorms across the country
- · The NHC uses NLDN and GLD360 data for marine forecasting and monitoring across the North Atlantic, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and NE Pacific. NHC also uses the lightning data to monitor convective storms for tropical cyclone development, which is often supplemented with data from company Vaisala RD94 dropsondes deployed by hurricane hunters
Vaisala has installed over 90 lightning networks across 45 countries and there are over 1,000 publications describing the performance or applications of these networks.
The contract is also timely given Vaisala’s ongoing support and input to NOAA/NWS Lightning Safety Awareness Week that is held annually in the last week of June (www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov). On average in the U.S. each year more than 50 people are killed and hundreds more permanently injured by lightning. The company provides NLDN flash density and frequency information by State.
Filed Under: News, Safety