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Global Lightning Image
Global Lightning Image
Global lightning strikes from January 1998 to present day from the NASA/MSFC Lightning Imaging Sensor

Space Research and Observations

Defense Meteorological Satellite - OLS

OLSWe have been producing maps of global lighting activity derived from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Operational Linescan System (OLS) sensor. Initially, we used the analog film strips archived at the National Snow and Ice Data Center located at CIRES/University of Colorado. Lightning signatures appear as horizontal streaks in the smoothed (2.5 km) nighttime visible band imagery. A human analyst would hand digitize these streaks and record the latitude, longitude, and time of the lightning discharge. For example, the 1986 annual lightning distribution is derived from more than 40,000 orbits (film strips). (Reference: Goodman, S. J. and H. J. Christian, 1993: Global Observations of Lightning, in "Atlas of Satellite Observations related to Global Change," Gurney, Foster, and Parkinson, ed., Cambridge University Press, 191-219). In 1991-1992 the film archive transitioned to a digital archive, also located at the University of Colorado and the National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC). We have recently succeeded in developing and implementing a neural network and pattern recognition algorithm that automatically extracts the lightning discharge time and location (primarily from the F10 and F12 satellites). We are using these data bases to extend our observations into the mid 1990s. We are also inter-comparing these lightning distributions to those derived from observations made by the recently launched NASA Optical Transient Detector. This instrument was a prototype for the EOS Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS) that was launched on the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM). In addition, we can compare the occurrence of lightning with the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) indications of rainfall and precipitation sized ice using the multispectral passive microwave frequencies. These data sets have been requested and used by atmospheric chemists studying NOx budgets and transport (lightning is a significant natural source of NOx) and by atmospheric physicists and meteorologists interested in the natural variability of thunderstorms.

The data on this page represent observations at local midnight from the Operational Linescan System. This system was only capable of detecting lightning during night.

 

Yearly Data Available: 

 

 US
  Composite

» June-July   [57 Strips 374 points]

  Monthly Images
» June
» July

 

 

 

 

 World
Composite

» June-July   [584 Strips 2967 Points]

Monthly Images

» June
» July

1977 (Orville)
 US
Composite

» September-December   [108 Strips 276 Points]

Monthly Images
» September
» October
» November
» December

World
Composite

» September-December   [4311 Strips 9072 Points]

Monthly Images

» September
» October
» November
» December


1978 (Orville)
 US
Composite

» January-August   [1170 Strips 3082 Points]

Monthly Images
» January
» Febuary
» March
» April
» May
» June
» July
» August

World
Composite

» January-August   [10524 Strips 23191 Points]

Monthly Images

» January
» Febuary
» March
» April
» May
» June
» July
» August


US
Composite

» May-June   [3 Strips 61 Points]

Monthly Images
» May
» June

World
Composite

» May-June [151 Strips 2002 Points]

Monthly Images

» May
» June


US
Composite

» Yearly   [279 Strips 5071 Points]

Monthly Images
» January
» February
» March
» April
» May
» June
» July
» August
» September
» October
» November
» December

World
Composite

» Yearly   [3784 Strips 60682 Points]

Monthly Images

» January
» February
» March
» April
» May
» June
» July
» August
» September
» October
» November
» December


US
Composite

» January-October   [116 Strips 1542 Points]

Monthly Images

» January
» February
» March
» April
» May
» June
» July
» August
» September
» October

World
Composite

» January-October   [2092 Strips 30634 Points]
» January-October MPEG   [2092 Strips 30634 Points]

Monthly Images

» January
» February
» March
» April
» May
» June
» July
» August
» September
» October


 US
Monthly Images
» December
World
Monthly Images

» December


 US
Composite

» Yearly   [13 Strips 381 Points]

Monthly Images
» January
» February
» March
» April
» May
» June
» July
» August
» September
» October
» November
» December

World
Composite

» Yearly   [270 Strips 3089 Points]

Monthly Images

» January
» February
» March
» April
» May
» June
» July
» August
» September
» October
» November
» December



 US
Composite

» Yearly   [10 Strips 146 Points]

Monthly Images
» January
» February
» March
» April
» May
» June
» July
» August
» September
» October
» November
» December

World
Composite

» Yearly   [155 Strips 1683 Points]

Monthly Images
» January
» February
» March
» April
» May
» June
» July
» August
» September
» October
» November
» December


World
Monthly Images

» February
» March
» April
» May

 


 World
Composite

» May-November   [8009 Strips 53372 Points]

Monthly Images
» May
» June
» July
» August
» September
» October
» November
» December

OTD vs. OLS
Comparison Images

» May
» June
» July
» August
» September
» October
» November



World
Monthly Images

» January
» February

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