National Academies Press: OpenBook

The Earth's Electrical Environment (1986)

Chapter: Lightning Location Networks

« Previous: Lightning Flash and Related Characteristics
Suggested Citation:"Lightning Location Networks." National Research Council. 1986. The Earth's Electrical Environment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/898.
Page 28

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

LIGHTNING PHENOMENOLOGY 28 Figure 1.4 The ratio of intracloud to cloud-to-ground lightning as a function of latitude. From Prentice and Mackerras (1977). Lightning Location Networks The study of lightning phenomenology has made a major advance in the last decade with the introduction of new magnetic direction-finding techniques (Krider et al., 1980) that provide the means to monitor ground strikes over areas exceeding 106 km2. Extensive networks of lightning direction finders have been established for forest-fire detection in the western United States, Canada, and Alaska. Figure 1.6 shows the coverage as of the summer of 1984, and it can be predicted that within the next few years the entire United States will be covered. One expanding lightning detection network covers the East Coast and is approaching the Mississippi River to provide coverage of the eastern part of the United States (Orville et al., 1983). This network is operated by the State University of New York at Albany in a multidrop communication network that links all the direction finders to one computer. Data are now retrieved on the time, location, number of strokes in the flash, polarity of the charge lowered to ground, and amplitude of the peak magnetic radiation field that can be related to the maximum current in the first stroke. These data, in turn, can be analyzed and related to the meteorological patterns producing the observed phenomena. To report all initial results would far exceed the space available in this brief paper; nevertheless, it is interesting to note a few observations. The highest ground flash rate recorded by the East Coast Network occurred on June 13, 1984, when 50,836 flashes were detected in a 24-hour period over an area of approximately 250,000 km2. The highest hourly summary was 7800 flashes with the highest 5-minute rate exceeding 10,000 ground flashes per hour. These results are remarkable when it is realized that these flash rates were from storms in only three states—Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and part of New York—and at the time were producing approximately 3 percent of the entire global lightning activity. Other results indicate that lightning is recorded in every week of the year along the East Coast and that the polarity of the lightning ground strikes shows a change from negative to positive in the fall and a shift back to negative in the spring. A discussion of positive lightning and its characteristics is presented by Rust (Chapter 3, this volume). Figure 1.5 Lightning flash density estimates on an annual basis. Adapted from Maier and Piotrowicz (1983) and MacGorman et al. (1984).

Next: References »
The Earth's Electrical Environment Get This Book
Buy Paperback | $75.00
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

This latest addition to the Studies in Geophysics series explores in scientific detail the phenomenon of lightning, cloud, and thunderstorm electricity, and global and regional electrical processes. Consisting of 16 papers by outstanding experts in a number of fields, this volume compiles and reviews many recent advances in such research areas as meteorology, chemistry, electrical engineering, and physics and projects how new knowledge could be applied to benefit mankind.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook,'s online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!