disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
A satellite-borne system for earlier warnings of severe storm development, including tornadoes, has been delivered to the U.S. government.
The system is called the Geostationary Lightning Mapper instrument. It was produced by Lockheed Martin and will fly on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s next-generation Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite missions, known as the GOES-R Series.
“GLM will have the potential to save lives by using lightning as a reliable indicator of severe weather, like tornados,” said Russell Katz, Lockheed Martin GLM deputy program manager. “A rapid increase of in-cloud lightning can precede severe weather on the ground. Changes in that type of lightning can also give us a better understanding of the updraft strength in thunderstorms.
“The instrument also gives us a better understanding of the updraft strength of thunderstorms by capturing changes of the in-cloud lightning.”
The GLM can continuously track lightning flashes from geostationary orbit with a 500 frames per second, 1.8 megapixel focal plane, integrated with low-noise electronics and specialized optics. The system will be a key element in NOAA’s National Weather Service operations.
The GLM delivered is expected to be launched in 2016.