This forum supports Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) implementation and training.  The page provides a vehicle for learning about the GLM capabilities and limitations, exploring applications, understanding data quality, and addressing inquiries.

The GLM continuously observes lightning throughout a near hemispheric field of view, capturing spatiotemporal variability on unprecedented scales (Rudlosky et al. 2019). As a high-frame-rate camera that detects light pulses at cloud tops, the GLM differs from the ground-based lightning detection networks most familiar to NWS forecasters. Thus, focused research, development, and training efforts are required to guide the operational application of these new data. A gridded product suite (Bruning et al. 2019) and associated AWIPS configurations were implemented to provide GLM information to forecasters (Sima 2020).

The first product (flash extent density; FED) is available to all NWS weather forecast offices (WFOs) via experimental channels (i.e., the Operations Proving Ground, OPG), with a ‘full disk’ version rolling out during 2020.  Additional gridded products (presently average flash area and total optical energy, AFA and TOE) are undergoing a limited demonstration at ~60 WFOs.  Work continues on refining display specifications for these and other gridded GLM products.  The OPG and Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT) help develop and test new versions before broader dissemination.  These efforts leverage forecaster feedback to improve the gridded products and the ability for forecasters to both interpret and apply them.

The FED is awaiting formal SBN distribution, and a nationwide demonstration during 2020 aims to determine whether the total optical energy (TOE), average flash area (AFA), and/or minimum flash area (MFA) should be distributed via the SBN.  Gridded GLM products cannot advance past RL7 without migration to NESDIS generation and distribution.  Thus, the NWS is working with NESDIS to shift product generation and distribution to more robust channels.  Present plans aim to provide GLM gridded products via official NESDIS channels by Summer/Fall 2022.

Please follow the tabs above to explore training documents, daily GLM status information, product descriptions, and imagery examples.

Archive GLM Grids are available at https://lightning.umd.edu/glm/archive/

Near real time imagery is available at https://lightning.umd.edu/glm/http://col.st/haYgj, and http://col.st/WtVLp

Example GLM Imagery - Click the drop down menu in the top right for lots more options!



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Operational Utility of GLM Flash Extent Density on June 1

Re-post from WFO Huntsville

For the seventh consecutive year, NWS Huntsville provided on-site weather support for a large outdoor country music concert in Cullman, Alabama this past weekend. This concert is usually held in June, one of the most problematic times of year for forecasting due to the seemingly-random nature of summertime convection. Public safety officials have had to stop the concert once for the threat of cloud-to-ground lightning and gusty winds, and have come close on several other occasions.

This year’s event was no exception. On Friday night, June 1, a small multi-cell cluster of storms containing cloud-to-ground lightning developed approximately 30 miles to the west and moved steadily east, putting forecasters and public safety officials alike on alert.

In past years, NWS Huntsville forecasters have used the North Alabama Lightning Mapping Array for situational awareness. Unfortunately, the NALMA is no longer available, but NWS Huntsville is a Preliminary Test & Evaluation site for the GOES-16 Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM). So forecasters at both the NWS office and the concert used GLM to evaluate the threat to almost 30,000 people.

Four Panel image of GOES-16 Clean IR (top-left), MRMS radar reflectivity (top-right), Earth Networks 8-km total flash density (bottom-right), and GLM FED and NLDN plot (bottom-left), vallid 0113 UTC 1 June.  The concert is denoted by the crosshairs marked “Home”.

Fortunately, the initial cluster of storms to the west essentially “split”, with one updraft gaining dominance to the south, and the rest weakening.  There were some “long flashes” extending far to the north from the southern storm, and far to the south from the northern storm, as seen in the image above.

The storm to the south produced a great deal of lightning, but thanks to the GLM Flash Extent Density product, forecasters were able to determine that the concert would not be affected.

As the storm to the south was weakening, the northern storm regained strength and intensified.  GLM FED data shows several flashes moving into the 10 nautical mile range ring, and one moving within the 5-nm ring.  Public safety officials and forecasters were certainly concerned.  However, forecasters were able to combine GLM FED information with GOES-16 IR and Multi-Radar/Multi-Sensor radar data to determine that the storm was moving away, the updraft was intensifying (which typically leads to smaller flashes), and the lightning threat would gradually diminish.

Four Panel image of GOES-16 Clean IR (top-left), MRMS radar reflectivity (top-right), Earth Networks 8-km total flash density (bottom-right), and GLM FED and NLDN plot (bottom-left), vallid 0151 UTC 1 June.  The concert is denoted by the crosshairs marked “Home”.

The northern storm would eventually produce quite a light show for skywatchers in the Huntsville metro area–but it also did much more.  Later on, GLM FED data indicated a lightning increase at 0207 UTC, followed by a more pronounced increase at 0216 UTC.

Animation 0156-0259 UTC of GOES-16 Clean IR 1-minute imagery (top-left), MRMS radar reflectivity (top-right), Earth Networks 8-km Total Flash Density (bottom-right), GLM FED and NLDN plot (bottom-left).

Indeed, this storm eventually downed numerous trees along the Madison-Marshall county line around 0240-0250 UTC.

With our legacy of using LMA data for almost 15 years, NWS Huntsville forecasters have embraced GLM FED data eagerly.  We hope to share more operational examples in the future.

Re-posted from: https://nasasport.wordpress.com/2018/06/07/operational-utility-of-glm-flash-extent-density-on-june-1/