Let’s talk lightning detection…

During my years in ham radio I fondly remember listening to the HF and AM broadcast bands with the increased static crashes during the summer months.  I always found myself wondering where the lightning strikes were occurring and what was the intensity of the strike.  Thanks to the Internet I now have a source for this type of information.

Recently I became aware of Blitzortung.org and their lightning detection network for the location of electromagnetic discharges in the atmosphere (lightning discharges) based on the time of arrival (TOA) and time of group arrival (TOGA) method.  It consists of several volunteer supported lightning receivers and one central processing server.  The stations transmit their data in short time intervals over the Internet to the server.  Every data sentence contains the precise time of arrival of the received lightning discharge impulse (“sferic”) and the exact geographic position of the receiver.  With this information from all stations the exact positions of the discharges are computed. The aim of the project is to establish a low budget lightning location network with a high number of stations.  The lightning activity of the last two hours is additionally displayed on several public maps recomputed every minute.

“Blitzortung.org” is a community of station operators who transmit their data to the central server, programmers who develop and/or implement algorithms for the location or visualization of sferic positions, and people who assist anyway to keep the system running. There is no restriction on membership. All people who keep the network in operation are volunteers.

To view a real time map that shows lightning activity worldwide and regionally please use the following link to Blitzortung.org.