Operational Observations from the Geostationary Lightning Mapper and Lightning Mapping Arrays
Brian Carcione, NOAA/NWS Huntsville, AL, Huntsville, AL
Geoffrey Stano, ENSCO, Inc./NASA Short-term Prediction Research and Transition (SPoRT) Center
Kristopher White, NOAA-NWS/NASA SPoRT Center

The Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) instrument aboard GOES-16 presents a variety of new operational opportunities for much of the National Weather Service (NWS) as local and national forecast offices acquire access to space-based total lightning observations.  These data became available for the first time in April 2017.

However, a handful of NWS offices around the U.S. have had access to research-grade total lightning information for years due to the deployment of ground-based Lightning Mapping Arrays (LMAs).  These networks cover a very small area (150-200 km range) using different technology (VHF versus near-infrared optical) but in much greater detail (spatial resolution 1-2 km versus the 8 km GLM).  Consequently, these offices have had the ability to compare at least two different sources of total lightning information since April.

This presentation will not address any formal calibration or validation work, but instead will discuss operational observations of the two total lightning data sets: comparisons of the datasets  in an operational decision-making environment, strengths and weaknesses of each, and points for future consideration as forecasters acquire experience with GLM.