Lightning Detectors Facts

Lightning Detectors Facts
A lightning detector is a tool used to detect lightning. The first device designed to detect lightning was invented by Alexander Stepanovich Popov in 1894, which also served as the world's first radio receiver. There are three main lightning detector types including space-based systems, mobile systems, and ground-based systems. Often lightning detectors and weather radar systems are used in conjunction to detect approaching storms as they can detect rain and electrical activity. Airplanes often have weather radar and lightning detectors to improve safety. There are also small lightning detectors meant for personal use which can be useful for those who work outdoors or spend time outdoors for recreational purposes.
Interesting Lightning Detectors Facts:
There are over 100 remote ground based lightning sensing stations placed strategically across the United States which are able to detect intra-cloud lightning and cloud to ground lightning. They are mapped in real time.
Lightning data collected by the National Lightning Detection Network in the United States is used both for weather reporting and for research purposes.
It is estimated that there have been more than 160 million lightning flashes recorded by the National Lightning Detection Network since 1989.
A ground based lightning detection system utilizes multiple location triangulation to calculate the distance of lightning.
Mobile based lightning detection systems utilize signal attenuation and frequency to calculate lightning distance.
Space based lightning detection systems utilize direct observation to estimate range and intensity of lightning.
A limitation of ground based lightning detection is that three antennas must detect a flash in order for it to be accepted. Cloud to cloud lightning is often rejected because only two positions are detected and this results in underestimating the number of lightning flashes that actually occur.
A limitation of mobile lightning detectors is that they can mistake a strong lightning flash close by as actually being a weak one at a distance and vice versa.
A limitation of space based lightning detectors is that the data collected is often delayed by a few minutes and the information is not as useful for some applications where real time reporting is required. This is true for air transportation professionals who require real time data.
When using a portable lightning detector it is important to know that it will not work if it is not turned on.
Lightning detectors can help to save lives as they can alert people to the presence of lightning when they are not aware it is there or that it may be approaching. Lightning can be difficult to see during the day which makes it even more important to be detected.
Lightning detectors can make it possible for weather reporters to alert people to the danger of severe thunderstorms and warn them to take cover in a safe place.
Lightning detectors can alert sports players to stay off fields where lightning poses a serious risk to players.
Lightning detectors are important for civilian safety but are also important for professional safety as well. Pilots, military personnel, boaters, and anyone outdoors is at risk for a lightning strike during a storm.

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