2012 Volume 132 Issue 6 Pages 529-535
The demand for both data quality and the range of Cloud-to-Ground (CG) lightning parameters is highest for forensic applications within the electric utility industry. For years, the research and operational communities within this industry in Japan have pointed out a limitation of these LLS networks in the detection and location of damaging (high-current and/or large charge transfer) lightning flashes during the winter months (so-called “Winter Lightning”). Most of these flashes appear to be upward-connecting discharges, frequently referred to as “Ground-to-Cloud” (GC) flashes. The basic architecture and design of Vaisala’s new LS700x lightning sensor was developed in-part to improve detection of these unusual and complex flashes. This paper presents our progress-to-date on this effort. We include a review of the winter lightning detection problem, an overview of the LS700x architecture, a discussion of how this architecture was exploited to evaluate and improve performance for winter lightning, and a presentation of results-to-date on performance improvement. A comparison of GC detection performance between Tohoku’s operational 9-sensor IMPACT (ALDF 141-T) LLS and its 6-sensor LS700x research network indicates roughly a factor-of-two improvement for this class of discharges, with an overall detection of 23/24 (96%) of GC flashes.