Vaisala monitors lightning activity around the world, and recently released the Top 10 lightning flash days in 2014 as detected by its National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN) and Global Lightning Dataset GLD360 network. The NLDN is a precision lightning network owned and operated by Vaisala and detects in-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning throughout the United States. Both the GLD360 and NLDN provide information to agencies such as the National Weather Service and the Federal Aviation Administration, for forecasting, safety and to support operational decision-making. GLD360 detects lightning around the world with very long-range sensors that allow continuous coverage over land and oceans.
U.S. Top 10 Lightning Flash Days
The following lightning data are the Top 10 days in 2014 with respect to cloud-to-ground only lightning in the contiguous U.S.:
- June 19 – 361,927 cloud-to-ground flashes Top State: South Dakota
- June 18 – 357,318 cloud-to-ground flashes Top State: South Dakota
- June 05 – 297,052 cloud-to-ground flashes Top State: Tennessee
- July 27 – 291,615 cloud-to-ground flashes Top State: Kentucky
- April 28 – 284,409 cloud-to-ground flashes Top State: Mississippi
- July 23 – 277,924 cloud-to-ground flashes Top State: Arkansas
- Sept. 02 – 271,161 cloud-to-ground flashes Top State: Kansas
- July 14 – 267,279 cloud-to-ground flashes Top State: Tennessee
- May 12 – 262,927 cloud-to-ground flashes Top State: Texas
- July 15 – 260,477 cloud-to-ground flashes Top State: Texas
As might be expected in the U.S., the top days are mainly in the summer months, but the spring months of April and May appear this year, and another in early September. Previous Vaisala studies have found that two-thirds of the contiguous U.S. cloud-to-ground lightning flashes occur in June, July, and August.
Global top 10 days for lightning
Worldwide, the top ten days for lightning activity are:
- September 2 – 4,315,259 strokes
- April 30 – 4,211,041 strokes
- April 29 – 4,039,212 strokes
- October 2 – 3,676,378 strokes
- September 20 – 3,634,461 strokes
- August 30 – 3,627,466 stroke
- April 28 – 3,571,362 strokes
- May 27 – 3,550,073 strokes
- July 3 – 3,543,899 strokes
- July 2 – 3,496,652 strokes
Around the world, all of the top ten days are in the Northern Hemisphere summer, and the months shortly before and afterward. This is to be expected due to its much larger land mass compared with the Southern Hemisphere. Additionally, only two days for the world are the same as for the U.S., showing how there are diverse thunderstorm systems occurring at any time around the world.
Accurate, reliable lightning detection network
The NLDN is the most accurate, reliable, and scientifically validated lightning detection network in the United States. The network has been independently verified through ground truth studies and is supported by a long history of continuous advancements in science and technology behind our lightning detection sensors and data collection methodologies.
The Vaisala Global Lightning Dataset GLD360 is a service that provides real-time lightning data for accurate and early detection and tracking of severe weather. The data provided is generated by a Vaisala owned and operated worldwide network.
While the specific days and locations of the Top 10 lightning days change from year to year, the total number of cloud-to-ground flashes remains between 20 and 25 million per year over the contiguous U.S. Having an increased understanding of when, where, and how much lightning occurs has been coincident with a gradual reduction in lightning fatalities and injuries in the United States. The ability of GLD360 to expand our view of lightning to a global level provides a comprehensive perspective on the lightning threat, which needs considerable attention in many areas of the world.
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