U.S. National Weather Service Selects Earth Networks’ Total Lightning Data and Weather Visualization Tool for Operations and Research
Total Lightning Data and StreamerRT Monitoring Solution from World’s Largest Total Lightning Network Will Provide Expanded Insight for Use in Forecasting and Severe Weather Warning
Germantown, MD – August 6, 2012 – Earth Networks, the owner of WeatherBug and operator of the largest weather, lightning and climate observation networks, announces that it has been awarded the contract as the primary provider of total lightning data by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS). With the contract, NOAA and NWS will utilize data from the Earth Networks Total Lightning Network, both operationally and in research, to advance severe weather forecasting and warning applications. Data from the Earth Networks Total Lightning Network was selected by the National Weather Service for its technical precision and competencies.
Earth Networks is providing NOAA and the NWS with real-time data from its Total Lightning Network (ENTLN), which is the world’s largest total lightning network. This terrestrial network consists of hundreds of broadband weather sensors deployed worldwide that continuously monitor and detect both in-cloud (IC) and cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning in real time. In contrast with older systems that only detect cloud-to-ground strikes, the Earth Networks Total Lightning Network also detects in-cloud lightning, which comprises the vast majority of lightning activity in the atmosphere and often serves as a precursor to extreme weather conditions, including heavy rain and hail, high wind and gust fronts, dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning strikes and tornadoes.
In addition, NWS forecast offices and centers will have access to Earth Networks’ StreamerRTSM, a comprehensive weather visualization tool, to monitor total lightning and associated lightning and severe weather tracking activity in real time. StreamerRT is used across industries to track conditions at local, regional, national and international levels for critical decision making, and can be configured to provide multiple views from nearly 100 layers of weather information and severe alerts.
Earth Networks has supported NOAA and the NWS for more than a decade on weather data collection, and the contract exemplifies the strengths and benefits of successful long-term public-private cooperation. Earth Networks incorporates NWS weather data on its mobile and desktop apps, and on its consumer website www.weatherbug.com. The NWS utilizes real-time weather data from the company’s dense network of neighborhood-level sensors for use in operations and research. This critical weather information heightens situational awareness and supports the agency’s Weather-Ready Nation initiative. The use of Earth Networks’ total lightning data and the StreamerRT weather visualization tool by the NWS further extends this capability.
“We continuously seek to embrace the latest atmospheric monitoring information and technology for use in research and operations,” says Laura K. Furgione, Acting Assistant Administrator for Weather Services and Acting Director, National Weather Service. “The application of total lightning data to enhance nowcasting and improved severe weather warnings are extremely promising, and could play a major role as we strive toward establishing a truly Weather-Ready Nation.”
“The NWS is highly regarded around the world, and our selection by the agency is a huge testament to the strength of our total lightning detection capabilities,” says Earth Networks President and CEO Bob Marshall. “After several years of scientific investment and dedication, our total lightning network and technology have developed into a breakthrough advancement that can significantly improve warning lead times for severe weather. And it is astonishing to think that worldwide more than six billion people receive little or no weather warnings. The use of total lightning and its many derivative products, combined with strong public-private partnerships, can serve as a model for how other nations leverage and incorporate cost-effective early warning solutions into their hydro-meteorological organizations.”
In addition to enabling advancements in severe weather forecasting, total lightning data can deliver many benefits to other agencies and industries. In the aviation sector, weather and severe storms cause a significant portion of air traffic delays. Total lightning data can be used to improve air routing as well as flight safety and ground operations. By utilizing Earth Networks Total Lightning data during an investigation of incidents in which aircraft encountered convective weather that resulted in injuries and damage, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently published a safety recommendation stating that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) should consider using total lightning data at air route traffic control centers, terminal radar approach control facilities, and within in-flight tools for pilots.
Looking ahead, it is anticipated that total lightning will figure prominently in the FAA’s NextGen program , which is a comprehensive effort to modernize the nation’s national airspace system and designed to make air travel more convenient, dependable, secure and safe.
Visit http://www.earthnetworks.com/Products/TotalLightningNetwork to learn more about the Earth Networks Total Lightning Network.