lightning: Topics by Science.gov

June 22, 2021

  • Total Lightning as an Indicator of Mesocyclone Behavior

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stough, Sarah M.; Carey, Lawrence D.; Schultz, Christopher J.

    2014-01-01

    Apparent relationship between total lightning (in-cloud and cloud to ground) and severe weather suggests its operational utility. Goal of fusion of total lightning with proven tools (i.e., radar lightning algorithms. Preliminary work here investigates circulation from Weather Suveilance Radar- 1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) coupled with total lightning data from Lightning Mapping Arrays.

  • Aircraft Lightning Electromagnetic Environment Measurement

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ely, Jay J.; Nguyen, Truong X.; Szatkowski, George N.

    2011-01-01

    This paper outlines a NASA project plan for demonstrating a prototype lightning strike measurement system that is suitable for installation onto research aircraft that already operate in thunderstorms. This work builds upon past data from the NASA F106, FAA CV-580, and Transall C-180 flight projects, SAE ARP5412, and the European ILDAS Program. The primary focus is to capture airframe current waveforms during attachment, but may also consider pre and post-attachment current, electric field, and radiated field phenomena. New sensor technologies are being developed for this system, including a fiber-optic Faraday polarization sensor that measures lightning current waveforms from DC to over several Megahertz, and has dynamic range covering hundreds-of-volts to tens-of-thousands-of-volts. A study of the electromagnetic emission spectrum of lightning (including radio wave, microwave, optical, X-Rays and Gamma-Rays), and a compilation of aircraft transfer-function data (including composite aircraft) are included, to aid in the development of other new lightning environment sensors, their placement on-board research aircraft, and triggering of the onboard instrumentation system. The instrumentation system will leverage recent advances in high-speed, high dynamic range, deep memory data acquisition equipment, and fiber-optic interconnect.

  • Laboratory-produced ball lightning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Golka, Robert K., Jr.

    1994-05-01

    For 25 years I have actively been searching for the true nature of ball lightning and attempting to reproduce it at will in the laboratory. As one might expect, many unidentified lights in the atmosphere have been called ball lightning, including Texas Maffa lights (automobile headlights), flying saucers (UFOs), swamp gas in Ann Arbor, Michigan, etc. For 15 years I thought ball lightning was strictly a high-voltage phenomenon. It was not until 1984 when I was short-circuiting the electrical output of a diesel electric railroad locomotive that I realized that the phenomenon was related more to a high current. Although I am hoping for some other types of ball lightning to emerge such as strictly electrostatic-electromagnetic manifestations, I have been unlucky in finding laboratory provable evidence. Cavity-formed plasmodes can be made by putting a 2-inch burning candle in a home kitchen microwave oven. The plasmodes float around for as long as the microwave energy is present.

  • Measurement of RF lightning emissions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lott, G. K., Jr.; Honnell, M. A.; Shumpert, T. H.

    1981-01-01

    A lightning radio emission observation laboratory is described. The signals observed and recorded include HF, VHF and UHF radio emissions, optical signature, electric field measurements, and thunder. The objectives of the station, the equipment used, and the recording methods are discussed.

  • Jovian Lightning and Moonlit Clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1997-01-01

    Jovian lightning and moonlit clouds. These two images, taken 75 minutes apart, show lightning storms on the night side of Jupiter along with clouds dimly lit by moonlight from Io, Jupiter’s closest moon. The images were taken in visible light and are displayed in shades of red. The images used an exposure time of about one minute, and were taken when the spacecraft was on the opposite side of Jupiter from the Earth and Sun. Bright storms are present at two latitudes in the left image, and at three latitudes in the right image. Each storm was made visible by multiple lightning strikes during the exposure. Other Galileo images were deliberately scanned from east to west in order to separate individual flashes. The images show that Jovian and terrestrial lightning storms have similar flash rates, but that Jovian lightning strikes are a few orders of magnitude brighter in visible light.

    The moonlight from Io allows the lightning storms to be correlated with visible cloud features. The latitude bands where the storms are seen seem to coincide with the ‘disturbed regions’ in daylight images, where short-lived chaotic motions push clouds to high altitudes, much like thunderstorms on Earth. The storms in these images are roughly one to two thousand kilometers across, while individual flashes appear hundreds of kilometer across. The lightning probably originates from the deep water cloud layer and illuminates a large region of the visible ammonia cloud layer from 100 kilometers below it.There are several small light and dark patches that are artifacts of data compression. North is at the top of the picture. The images span approximately 50 degrees in latitude and longitude. The lower edges of the images are aligned with the equator. The images were taken on October 5th and 6th, 1997 at a range of 6.6 million kilometers by the Solid State Imaging (SSI) system on NASA’s Galileo spacecraft.The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA manages the Galileo mission for

  • The Interferometric View of Lightning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stock, M.; Lapierre, J. L.

    2017-12-01

    Recent advances in off the shelf high-speed digitizers has enabled vast improvements in broadband, digital VHF interferometers. These simple instruments consist of 3 or more VHF antennas distributed in an array which are then digitized at a speed above the Nyquist frequency of the antenna bandwidth (usually 200+ MHz). Broadband interferometers are capable of creating very detailed maps of lightning, with time resolution better than 1us, and angular resolution only limited by their baseline lengths. This is combined with high sensitivity, and the ability to locate both continuously emitting and impulsive radiation sources. They are not without their limitations though. Because the baselines are relatively short, the maps are only 2-dimensional (direction to the source), unless many antennas are used only a single VHF radiation source can be located at any instant, and because the antennas are almost always arranged in a planar array they are better suited for observing lightning at high elevation angles. Even though imperfect, VHF interferometers provide one of the most detailed views of the behavior of lightning flashes inside a cloud. This presentation will present the overall picture of in-cloud lightning as seen by VHF interferometers. Most flashes can be split into 3 general phases of activity. Phase 1 is the initiation phase, covering all activity until the negative leader completes its vertical extension, and includes both lightning initiation and initial breakdown pulses. Phase 2 is the active phase and includes all activity during the horizontal extension of the negative leader. During Phase 2, any K-processes which occur tend to be short in duration and extent. Phase 3 is the final phase, and includes all activity after the negative leader stops propagating. During Phase 3, the conductivity of the lightning channels starts to decline, and extensive K-processes are seen which traverse the entire channel structure, this is also the period in which regular

  • The Colorado Lightning Mapping Array

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rison, W.; Krehbiel, P. R.; Thomas, R. J.; Rodeheffer, D.; Fuchs, B.

    2012-12-01

    A fifteen station Lightning Mapping Array (LMA) was installed in northern Colorado in the spring of 2012. While the driving force for the array was to produce 3-dimensional lightning data to support the Deep Convective Clouds and Chemistry (DC3) Experiment (Barth, this conference), data from the array are being used for several other projects. These include: electrification studies in conjunction with the CSU CHILL radar (Lang et al, this conference); observations of the parent lightning discharges of sprites (Lyons et al, this conference); trying to detect upward discharges triggered by wind turbines, characterizing conditions in which aircraft flying through clouds produce discharges which can be detected by the LMA, and other opportunities, such as observations of lightning in pyrocumulus clouds produced by the High Park Fire west of Fort Collins, CO. All the COLMA stations are solar-powered, and use broadband cellular modems for data communications. This makes the stations completely self-contained and autonomous, allowing a station to be installed anywhere a cellular signal is available. Because most of the stations were installed well away from anthropogenic noise sources, the COLMA is very sensitive. This is evidenced by the numerous plane tracks detected in its the vicinity. The diameter, D, of the COLMA is about 100 km, significantly larger than other LMAs. Because the error in the radial distance r is proportional to (r/D)2, and the error in the altitude z is proportional to (z/D)2, the larger array diameter greatly expands the usable range of the COLMA. The COLMA is able to detect and characterize lighting flashes to a distance of about 350 km from the array center. In addition to a web-based display (lightning.nmt.edu/colma), geo-referenced images are produced and updated at one-minute intervals. These geo-referenced images can be used to overlay the real-time lightning data on Google Earth and other mapping software. These displays were used by the DC3

  • Lightning Location Using Acoustic Signals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Badillo, E.; Arechiga, R. O.; Thomas, R. J.

    2013-05-01

    In the summer of 2011 and 2012 a network of acoustic arrays was deployed in the Magdalena mountains of central New Mexico to locate lightning flashes. A Times-Correlation (TC) ray-tracing-based-technique was developed in order to obtain the location of lightning flashes near the network. The TC technique, locates acoustic sources from lightning. It was developed to complement the lightning location of RF sources detected by the Lightning Mapping Array (LMA) developed at Langmuir Laboratory, in New Mexico Tech. The network consisted of four arrays with four microphones each. The microphones on each array were placed in a triangular configuration with one of the microphones in the center of the array. The distance between the central microphone and the rest of them was about 30 m. The distance between centers of the arrays ranged from 500 m to 1500 m. The TC technique uses times of arrival (TOA) of acoustic waves to trace back the location of thunder sources. In order to obtain the times of arrival, the signals were filtered in a frequency band of 2 to 20 hertz and cross-correlated. Once the times of arrival were obtained, the Levenberg-Marquardt algorithm was applied to locate the spatial coordinates (x,y, and z) of thunder sources. Two techniques were used and contrasted to compute the accuracy of the TC method: Nearest-Neighbors (NN), between acoustic and LMA located sources, and standard deviation from the curvature matrix of the system as a measure of dispersion of the results. For the best case scenario, a triggered lightning event, the TC method applied with four microphones, located sources with a median error of 152 m and 142.9 m using nearest-neighbors and standard deviation respectively.; Results of the TC method in the lightning event recorded at 18:47:35 UTC, August 6, 2012. Black dots represent the results computed. Light color dots represent the LMA data for the same event. The results were obtained with the MGTM station (four channels). This figure

  • On the Relationship between Observed NLDN Lightning …

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    Lightning-produced nitrogen oxides (NOX=NO+NO2) in the middle and upper troposphere play an essential role in the production of ozone (O3) and influence the oxidizing capacity of the troposphere. Despite much effort in both observing and modeling lightning NOX during the past decade, considerable uncertainties still exist with the quantification of lightning NOX production and distribution in the troposphere. It is even more challenging for regional chemistry and transport models to accurately parameterize lightning NOX production and distribution in time and space. The Community Multiscale Air Quality Model (CMAQ) parameterizes the lightning NO emissions using local scaling factors adjusted by the convective precipitation rate that is predicted by the upstream meteorological model; the adjustment is based on the observed lightning strikes from the National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN). For this parameterization to be valid, the existence of an a priori reasonable relationship between the observed lightning strikes and the modeled convective precipitation rates is needed. In this study, we will present an analysis leveraged on the observed NLDN lightning strikes and CMAQ model simulations over the continental United States for a time period spanning over a decade. Based on the analysis, new parameterization scheme for lightning NOX will be proposed and the results will be evaluated. The proposed scheme will be beneficial to modeling exercises where the obs

  • TRMM-Based Lightning Climatology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cecil, Daniel J.; Buechler, Dennis E.; Blakeslee, Richard J.

    2011-01-01

    Gridded climatologies of total lightning flash rates seen by the spaceborne Optical Transient Detector (OTD) and Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS) have been updated. OTD collected data from May 1995 to March 2000. LIS data (equatorward of about 38 deg) has been added for 1998-2010. Flash counts from each instrument are scaled by the best available estimates of detection efficiency. The long LIS record makes the merged climatology most robust in the tropics and subtropics, while the high latitude data is entirely from OTD. The mean global flash rate from the merged climatology is 46 flashes per second. The peak annual flash rate at 0.5 deg scale is 160 fl/square km/yr in eastern Congo. The peak monthly average flash rate at 2.5 scale is 18 fl/square km/mo, from early April to early May in the Brahmaputra Valley of far eastern India. Lightning decreases in this region during the monsoon season, but increases further north and west. A monthly average peak from early August to early September in northern Pakistan also exceeds any monthly averages from Africa, despite central Africa having the greatest yearly average. Most continental regions away from the equator have an annual cycle with lightning flash rates peaking in late spring or summer. The main exceptions are India and southeast Asia, with springtime peaks in April and May. For landmasses near the equator, flash rates peak near the equinoxes. For many oceanic regions, the peak flash rates occur in autumn. This is particularly noticeable for the Mediterranean and North Atlantic. Landmasses have a strong diurnal cycle of lightning, with flash rates generally peaking between 3-5 pm local solar time. The central United States flash rates peak later, in late evening or early night. Flash rates peak after midnight in northern Argentina. These regions are known for large, intense, long-lived mesoscale convective systems.

  • Modern concepts of treatment and prevention of lightning injuries.

    PubMed

    Edlich, Richard F; Farinholt, Heidi-Marie A; Winters, Kathryne L; Britt, L D; Long, William B

    2005-01-01

    Lightning is the second most common cause of weather-related death in the United States. Lightning is a natural atmospheric discharge that occurs between regions of net positive and net negative electric charges. There are several types of lightning, including streak lightning, sheet lightning, ribbon lightning, bead lightning, and ball lightning. Lightning causes injury through five basic mechanisms: direct strike, flash discharge (splash), contact, ground current (step voltage), and blunt trauma. While persons struck by lightning show evidence of multisystem derangement, the most dramatic effects involve the cardiovascular and central nervous systems. Cardiopulmonary arrest is the most common cause of death in lightning victims. Immediate resuscitation of people struck by lightning greatly affects the prognosis. Electrocardiographic changes observed following lightning accidents are probably from primary electric injury or burns of the myocardium without coronary artery occlusion. Lightning induces vasomotor spasm from direct sympathetic stimulation resulting in severe loss of pulses in the extremities. This vasoconstriction may be associated with transient paralysis. Damage to the central nervous system accounts for the second most debilitating group of injuries. Central nervous system injuries from lightning include amnesia and confusion, immediate loss of consciousness, weakness, intracranial injuries, and even brief aphasia. Other organ systems injured by lightning include the eye, ear, gastrointestinal system, skin, and musculoskeletal system. The best treatment of lightning injuries is prevention. The Lightning Safety Guidelines devised by the Lightning Safety Group should be instituted in the United States and other nations to prevent these devastating injuries.

  • A Comparison of Lightning Flashes as Observed by the Lightning Imaging Sensor and the North Alabama Lightning Mapping Array

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bateman, M. G.; Mach, D. M.; McCaul, M. G.; Bailey, J. C.; Christian, H. J.

    2008-01-01

    The Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS) aboard the TRMM satellite has been collecting optical lightning data since November 1997. A Lightning Mapping Array (LMA) that senses VHF impulses from lightning was installed in North Alabama in the Fall of 2001. A dataset has been compiled to compare data from both instruments for all times when the LIS was passing over the domain of our LMA. We have algorithms for both instruments to group pixels or point sources into lightning flashes. This study presents the comparison statistics of the flash data output (flash duration, size, and amplitude) from both algorithms. We will present the results of this comparison study and show “point-level” data to explain the differences. AS we head closer to realizing a Global Lightning Mapper (GLM) on GOES-R, better understanding and ground truth of each of these instruments and their respective flash algorithms is needed.

  • Electromagnetic Effects Harmonization Working Group (EEHWG) – Lightning Task Group : report on aircraft lightning strike data

    DOT National Transportation Integrated Search

    2002-07-01

    In 1995, in response to the lightning community’s desire to revise the zoning criteria on aircraft, the Electromagnetic Effects Harmonization Working Group (EEHWG) decided that lightning attachments to aircraft causing damage should be studied and co…

  • Where are the lightning hotspots on Earth?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Albrecht, R. I.; Goodman, S. J.; Buechler, D. E.; Blakeslee, R. J.; Christian, H. J., Jr.

    2015-12-01

    The first lightning observations from space date from the early 1960s and more than a dozen spacecraft orbiting the Earth have flown instruments that recorded lightning signals from thunderstorms over the past 45 years. In this respect, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS), having just completed its mission (1997-2015), provides the longest and best total (intracloud and cloud-to-ground) lightning data base over the tropics.We present a 16 year (1998-2013) reprocessed data set to create very high resolution (0.1°) TRMM LIS total lightning climatology. This detailed very high resolution climatology is used to identify the Earth’s lightning hotspots and other regional features. Earlier studies located the lightning hotspot within the Congo Basin in Africa, but our very high resolution lightning climatology found that the highest lightning flash rate on Earth actually occurs in Venezuela over Lake Maracaibo, with a distinct maximum during the night. The higher resolution dataset clearly shows that similar phenomenon also occurs over other inland lakes with similar conditions, i.e., locally forced convergent flow over a warm lake surface which drives deep nocturnal convection. Although Africa does not have the top lightning hotspot, it comes in a close second and it is the continent with the highest number of lightning hotspots, followed by Asia, South America, North America, and Oceania. We also present climatological maps for local hour and month of lightning maxima, along with a ranking of the highest five hundred lightning maxima, focusing discussion on each continent’s 10 highest lightning maxima. Most of the highest continental maxima are located near major mountain ranges, revealing the importance of local topography in thunderstorm development. These results are especially relevant in anticipation of the upcoming availability of continuous total lightning observations from the Geostationary Lightning Mapping (GLM

  • Lightning attachment process to common buildings

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Saba, M. M. F.; Paiva, A. R.; Schumann, C.; Ferro, M. A. S.; Naccarato, K. P.; Silva, J. C. O.; Siqueira, F. V. C.; Custódio, D. M.

    2017-05-01

    The physical mechanism of lightning attachment to grounded structures is one of the most important issues in lightning physics research, and it is the basis for the design of the lightning protection systems. Most of what is known about the attachment process comes from leader propagation models that are mostly based on laboratory observations of long electrical discharges or from observations of lightning attachment to tall structures. In this paper we use high-speed videos to analyze the attachment process of downward lightning flashes to an ordinary residential building. For the first time, we present characteristics of the attachment process to common structures that are present in almost every city (in this case, two buildings under 60 m in São Paulo City, Brazil). Parameters like striking distance and connecting leaders speed, largely used in lightning attachment models and in lightning protection standards, are revealed in this work.Plain Language SummarySince the time of Benjamin Franklin, no one has ever recorded high-speed video images of a lightning connection to a common building. It is very difficult to do it. Cameras need to be very close to the structure chosen to be observed, and long observation time is required to register one lightning strike to that particular structure. Models and theories used to determine the zone of protection of a lightning rod have been developed, but they all suffer from the lack of field data. The submitted manuscript provides results from high-speed video observations of lightning attachment to low buildings that are commonly found in almost every populated area around the world. The proximity of the camera and the high frame rate allowed us to see interesting details that will improve the understanding of the attachment process and, consequently, the models and theories used by lightning protection standards. This paper also presents spectacular images and videos of

  • High current lightning test of space shuttle external tank lightning protection system

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mumme, E.; Anderson, A.; Schulte, E. H.

    1977-01-01

    During lift-off, the shuttle launch vehicle (external tank, solid rocket booster and orbiter) may be subjected to a lightning strike. Tests of a proposed lightning protection method for the external tank and development materials which were subjected to simulated lightning strikes are described. Results show that certain of the high resistant paint strips performed remarkably well in diverting the 50 kA lightning strikes.

  • An Integrated 0-1 Hour First-Flash Lightning Nowcasting, Lightning Amount and Lightning Jump Warning Capability

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mecikalski, John; Jewett, Chris; Carey, Larry; Zavodsky, Brad; Stano, Geoffrey; Chronis, Themis

    2015-01-01

    Using satellite-based methods that provide accurate 0-1 hour convective initiation (CI) nowcasts, and rely on proven success coupling satellite and radar fields in the Corridor Integrated Weather System (CIWS; operated and developed at MIT-Lincoln Laboratory), to subsequently monitor for first-flash lightning initiation (LI) and later period lightning trends as storms evolve. Enhance IR-based methods within the GOES-R CI Algorithm (that must meet specific thresholds for a given cumulus cloud before the cloud is considered to have an increased likelihood of producing lightning next 90 min) that forecast LI. Integrate GOES-R CI and LI fields with radar thresholds (e.g., first greater than or equal to 40 dBZ echo at the -10 C altitude) and NWP model data within the WDSS-II system for LI-events from new convective storms. Track ongoing lightning using Lightning Mapping Array (LMA) and pseudo-Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) data to assess per-storm lightning trends (e.g., as tied to lightning jumps) and outline threat regions. Evaluate the ability to produce LI nowcasts through a “lightning threat” product, and obtain feedback from National Weather Service forecasters on its value as a decision support tool.

  • Relativistic-microwave theory of ball lightning.

    PubMed

    Wu, H-C

    2016-06-22

    Ball lightning, a fireball sometimes observed during lightnings, has remained unexplained. Here we present a comprehensive theory for the phenomenon: At the tip of a lightning stroke reaching the ground, a relativistic electron bunch can be produced, which in turn excites intense microwave radiation. The latter ionizes the local air and the radiation pressure evacuates the resulting plasma, forming a spherical plasma bubble that stably traps the radiation. This mechanism is verified by particle simulations. The many known properties of ball lightning, such as the occurrence site, relation to the lightning channels, appearance in aircraft, its shape, size, sound, spark, spectrum, motion, as well as the resulting injuries and damages, are also explained. Our theory suggests that ball lighting can be created in the laboratory or triggered during thunderstorms. Our results should be useful for lightning protection and aviation safety, as well as stimulate research interest in the relativistic regime of microwave physics.

  • Relativistic-microwave theory of ball lightning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wu, H.-C.

    2016-06-01

    Ball lightning, a fireball sometimes observed during lightnings, has remained unexplained. Here we present a comprehensive theory for the phenomenon: At the tip of a lightning stroke reaching the ground, a relativistic electron bunch can be produced, which in turn excites intense microwave radiation. The latter ionizes the local air and the radiation pressure evacuates the resulting plasma, forming a spherical plasma bubble that stably traps the radiation. This mechanism is verified by particle simulations. The many known properties of ball lightning, such as the occurrence site, relation to the lightning channels, appearance in aircraft, its shape, size, sound, spark, spectrum, motion, as well as the resulting injuries and damages, are also explained. Our theory suggests that ball lighting can be created in the laboratory or triggered during thunderstorms. Our results should be useful for lightning protection and aviation safety, as well as stimulate research interest in the relativistic regime of microwave physics.

  • Relativistic-microwave theory of ball lightning

    PubMed Central

    Wu, H.-C.

    2016-01-01

    Ball lightning, a fireball sometimes observed during lightnings, has remained unexplained. Here we present a comprehensive theory for the phenomenon: At the tip of a lightning stroke reaching the ground, a relativistic electron bunch can be produced, which in turn excites intense microwave radiation. The latter ionizes the local air and the radiation pressure evacuates the resulting plasma, forming a spherical plasma bubble that stably traps the radiation. This mechanism is verified by particle simulations. The many known properties of ball lightning, such as the occurrence site, relation to the lightning channels, appearance in aircraft, its shape, size, sound, spark, spectrum, motion, as well as the resulting injuries and damages, are also explained. Our theory suggests that ball lighting can be created in the laboratory or triggered during thunderstorms. Our results should be useful for lightning protection and aviation safety, as well as stimulate research interest in the relativistic regime of microwave physics. PMID:27328835

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