The detection of lightning from space
Année de publication
Earth orbit offers a unique vantage point from which to study and monitor the phenomenon of lightning. Space-borne lightning detection sensors are capable of detecting total lightning activity during both day and night, over land and sea, potentially filling in data gaps in areas of poor or no radar coverage or where ground-based lightning detection networks offer low detection resolution. For over four decades, studies using different types of satellite-borne lightning detectors have resulted in significant advances in our understanding of the global distribution and frequency of lightning. The advent of a new generation of lightning-observing instruments in geostationary orbit in the near future will usher in a new era not only in our understanding of the phenomenon, but also of continuous, routine monitoring of lightning from space for practical applications such as improved severe weather warnings for communities on the ground and improved weather warnings for aviation. In this paper, a historical perspective of the study and monitoring of lightning from space, as well as a glimpse of the future, is offered.