Wide World of SPoRT Blog
LMA Flash Extent Density Data Used for Warning Decision
Thu, 18 June 2015
The Huntsville office has a long history of using total lightning information from the North Alabama Lightning Mapping Array (NALMA) for warning decision-making. Since 2003, WFO Huntsville has been ingesting and receiving a source density product from NASA SPoRT. However, recently, we decided to begin migrating to Flash Extent Density (FED) data; this is more consistent with the Geostationary Lightning Mapper, more consistent with recent operational research, and easier to convey and understand. Typically we are trying to apply the "two-sigma" lightning jump algorithm suggested by Schultz et al. (2009, 2012).
The Transition of SPoRT Satellite Products to AWIPS II
With the transition of several partner WFOs to AWIPS II, SPoRT has taken advantage of a baselined plug-in within AWIPS II called Regionalsat to continue the distribution of SPoRT-sponsored products. The benefits of utilizing this baselined plug-in includes its availability throughout the NWS, support by the NWS AWIPS II development contractor, and no need for a test authorization, which is needed for offices to use third-party plug-ins. The Regionalsat plug-in is able to ingest legacy AWIPS I files with only slight modifications required to the data format. These changes are transparent to AWIPS I, allowing SPoRT to deliver the same data files to both AWIPS I and AWIPS II. This avoids the need for two separate datasets flowing through the SPoRT LDM feed - the same files work on both old and new decision support systems.
Image of the Day
(click to enlarge)
This is an image of total lightning source densities, shown in AWIPS, as observed by the North Alabama Lightning Mapping Array (NALMA) in Huntsville, Alabama. Unlike tradition cloud-to-ground lightning observations that just show a point of data, total lightning shows the spatial extent of all lightning within a storm. However, the lightning activity is most closely associated with the strength of the stormís updraft, as it is here where most of the electrical charging occurs. As a result, the greatest source density values are located near the stormís updraft and displays of source density allow forecasters to quickly assess where the storm cores are located and which cores may be rapidly intensifying as shown be increases in total lightning activity.
Ingest and Product Status Pages
Though we're not 24/7, SPoRT strives to provide the most timely and reliable data products to its partners and end users. A system has been developed to monitor the health of our real-time data ingest and availability of LDM and FTP products. Summaries are posted every 10 minutes to the links below.