Sensors 2008, 8(1), 157-170; doi:10.3390/s8010157

Lightning Sensors for Observing, Tracking and Nowcasting Severe Weather

Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences, Tel Aviv University, 69978 Israel
Received: 7 November 2007; Accepted: 7 January 2008 / Published: 21 January 2008
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Disaster and Emergency Management Decision Making)
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Abstract: Severe and extreme weather is a major natural hazard all over the world, oftenresulting in major natural disasters such as hail storms, tornados, wind storms, flash floods,forest fires and lightning damages. While precipitation, wind, hail, tornados, turbulence,etc. can only be observed at close distances, lightning activity in these damaging stormscan be monitored at all spatial scales, from local (using very high frequency [VHF]sensors), to regional (using very low frequency [VLF] sensors), and even global scales(using extremely low frequency [ELF] sensors). Using sensors that detect the radio wavesemitted by each lightning discharge, it is now possible to observe and track continuouslydistant thunderstorms using ground networks of sensors. In addition to the number oflightning discharges, these sensors can also provide information on lightningcharacteristics such as the ratio between intra-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning, thepolarity of the lightning discharge, peak currents, charge removal, etc. It has been shownthat changes in some of these lightning characteristics during thunderstorms are oftenrelated to changes in the severity of the storms. In this paper different lightning observingsystems are described, and a few examples are provided showing how lightning may beused to monitor storm hazards around the globe, while also providing the possibility ofsupplying short term forecasts, called nowcasting.
Keywords: lightning; thunderstorms; hail; tornado; severe weather; VHF; VLF; ELF

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MDPI and ACS Style

Price, C. Lightning Sensors for Observing, Tracking and Nowcasting Severe Weather. Sensors 2008, 8, 157-170.

AMA Style

Price C. Lightning Sensors for Observing, Tracking and Nowcasting Severe Weather. Sensors. 2008; 8(1):157-170.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Price, Colin. 2008. "Lightning Sensors for Observing, Tracking and Nowcasting Severe Weather." Sensors 8, no. 1: 157-170.

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