Forecasting global lightning for atmospheric noise prediction


  • Chris R. Warber,

  • Balram Prasad


In this paper we discuss an investigation into the feasibility of using current and forecasted weather data to forecast lightning occurrence. These lightning occurrence forecasts are intended to be used to improve the accuracy of near-term long wave communication systems coverage predictions. Various weather information sources were reviewed to determine which data and parameters could be used to predict lightning and which techniques were best suited for selected forecast periods. Review of atmospheric and lightning physics resulted in several methods for establishing relationships between weather data parameters and lightning flash rates for selected forecasting periods. We review these methods and show results of tests which were conducted to compare the forecasted lightning occurrence with measured data. These tests were limited to the continental United States where empirical data on lightning occurrence from the National Lightning Detection Network are available. The results of the techniques developed for several example days are shown, as is the impact that using the techniques might have on the coverage prediction for an example long wave transmitter.