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Pre-Launch GOES-R Risk Reduction Activities For the Geostationary Lightning Mapper. Steven J. Goodman, R. J. Blakeslee, D. J. Boccippio, H. J. Christian, W. J. Koshak, W. A. Petersen NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Earth and Planetary Science Branch Huntsville, Alabama, USA. WSN05

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Pre-Launch GOES-R

Risk Reduction Activities For the Geostationary Lightning Mapper

Steven J. Goodman, R. J. Blakeslee, D. J. Boccippio,

H. J. Christian, W. J. Koshak, W. A. Petersen

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

Earth and Planetary Science Branch

Huntsville, Alabama, USA


4-9 September 2005

Toulouse, France

Photo, David Blankenship

Guntersville, Alabama

mapping requirements to system solutions



Adv. Baseline Imager (ABI)

NOAA Users

Ecosystems, Weather & Water, Climate, Commerce & Transportation


Hyperspectral Environmental Suite (HES)



Solar Imaging Suite (SIS)


Baseline Instruments


Atmospheric Profiles

Space Env

In-Situ Suite (SEISS)

Other Users


Atmospheric Radiance

GOES Lightning Mapper (GLM)

Atmospheric Winds




GOES-R System


Microwave Sounder/Imager


Coastal Waters & Estuaries


Potential P3I


Hyperspectral Imager

Space & Solar

Solar Irradiance Sensor

Mapping Requirements To System Solutions



Courtesy of Tim Walsh

Predict the onset of tornadoes, hail, microbursts, flash floods;

Track thunderstorms and warn of approaching lightning threats;

Improve airline routing around thunderstorms; improving safety, saving fuel, and reducing delays; TAFs

Provide real-time hazardous weather information, improving the efficiency of emergency management;

NWP/Data Assimilation;

Locate lightning strikes known to cause forest fires and reduce response times;

Multi-sensor precipitation algorithms;

Assess the role of thunderstorms and deep convection in global climate;

Provide a new data source to improve air quality / chemistry forecasts.

GLM Applications and Benefits

glm formulation status
RFP Released 26 July 2005

Proposals Received 29 August 2005

Two $2M Formulation Study Awards January 2006

Downselect to One Implementation Phase Award

Coverage Trade Study

Optimum configuration to provide continuous, real-time, simultaneous coverage of the defined full-disk area.

Configuration that would cover a hemisphere, north-to-south or east-to-west and a cost delta vs full-disk

CONUS and surrounding area only and a cost delta vs full-disk

GLM Formulation Status

The GLM is a single channel, visible imager used to measure total lightning activity over the full-disk as part of a 3-axis stabilized, geostationary weather satellite system

goes r geostationary lightning mapper glm


Dual imager configuration

GOES-R Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM)
  • NASA Lightning Mapper Concept
  • TRMM Lightning Imaging Sensor Heritage
  • Dual-Imager Configuration (8 km ifov)
lms dual imager electronics above nadir deck
LMS Dual Imager(Electronics Above Nadir Deck)

200 mm

Power Converters


Video Distribution

500 mm

Data Formatter &

Instrument Controller

Temp Control


Lens Assemblies

250 mm


CCD Subsystems

500 mm

375 mm

instrument risk reduction status
Six flight-quality optical assemblies complete with narrow-band interference and solar-blocking filters have been delivered to NASA.

CCD’s fabricated, integrated with breadboard drive electronics, and tested at 500 frames/sec satisfying key performance requirements (uniformity, linearity, quantum efficiency, well depth).

Engineering Model of the LMS Sensor Assembly being built.

Engineering Model of the LMS Electronics Assembly being built.

A fully functional Real Time Event Processor (RTEP) has been built, tested, and integrated with a CCD subassembly. Performance exceeds operating speed and S/N requirements.

Instrument Risk Reduction Status


Most Intense Electrical Storms on Earth

Extreme Lightning Rate StormsObserved by TRMM LIS(Cecil et al., MWR, 2005)

  • *Annual number of casualties due to lightning
    • US ~ 1000/yr
    • Deaths ~ 80-100/yr
    • Worldwide ~ 25,000/yr
  • *Ron Holle, 2004

Cecil et al., Mon. Wea. Rev., 2005)

continuous geo total lightning will identify severe storm potential
Continuous GEO Total Lightning will identify severe storm potential

Process physics understood

Ice flux drives lightning


Storm-scale model for decision support system

Physical basis for improved forecasts

Updraft Intensifies

IC flash rate controlled by graupel (ice mass) production (and vertical velocity)

Demonstrated in LEO with


Vortex Spins-up

Lightning jump precedes severe weather

Lightning improves storm predictability

mapping storm initiation growth decay

TRMM LIS-Lightning: May 1999 Stroud, OK Tornado

GOES-R GLM Perspective

Mapping storm initiation, growth, decay
  • TRMM provides us a huge database of paired lightning, radar, IR and passive microwave observations (training, validation)
  • Over entire tropics & subtropics (generalization)
  • Total lightning increases as storm intensifies – can increase lead time for warning of severe and tornadic storms

24 Aug 05

26 Aug 05

28 Aug 05

29 Aug 05

Hurricane Katrina: Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS)

LIS Background Images

read out once per min

4 km ifov @ 777.4 nm

Orbit swath 600 km


North Alabama Nowcasting

Short-term Forecasting Test Bed




NASA North Alabama Lightning Mapping Array (LMA)

Map (10 stations)

10 stations over 65 x50 km diameter area

One hour of real-time data


North Alabama Lightning Mapping Array (LMA)

  • Network of 10 detectors centered about HSV (NMT heritage)
  • Computes 4-D location of all electrical discharges (“flashes”) within LMA (CG…and IC, CC, CA)
  • Flash location overlaid on radar and satellite imagery and updated every minute
  • Trend information identifies growing/decaying storms
  • Validation for TRMM LIS
    • NASA Senior Review to extend mission approved

Total Lightning Impacts Decision Making at HUN

  • Has directly contributed to several correct severe warning decisions at HUN, OHX, and BMX.
  • “…the LMA density map gives you a great overall view of where storms with intensifying updrafts are located. So it gives you a good map of where to concentrate attention.”
  • “I believe the flash density rates were the primary factor in holding off on a warning.”
  • Data archived by WFO
  • Used in Warning Event Simulator for office training

0.5 º SRM

1.5º SRM

Ill-defined Rotational Couplet

0.5 º Refl

LMA Source Density

May 6, 2003 Case

1236 UTC


0.5 º SRM

1.5º SRM

Broad Rotational Couplet

0.5 º Refl

LMA Source Density

Lightning Jump

May 6, 2003 Case

1246 UTC

october 18 2004 case

LMA Source Density vs. Time


Source Density


12 min


October 18, 2004 Case
  • Rotating storm near edges of radar coverage
  • LMA provided forecaster extra confidence in tornado warning








Total Lightning Data in AWIPSScience and Technology Risk Reduction

  • Lightning Mapping Array
  • Ground based VHF network (Ch 5@72 MHz)
  • Continuous 3-D total lightning
  • Domain 400 km x 400 km
  • 17 height levels, 2 km flash density
  • Auto-loads 32 frames of 2 min netCDF grids via SR Frame Relay

Scientific Benefits to WFO’s

  • Increased Situational Awareness, Confidence Limits
  • Rapid Update- Potential for increased lead time, reduced FAR
  • Identification of intensifying and weakening storms, potential severe storms, microburst wind shears, CG threat area
  • Fills gaps in radar coverage

AWIPS 4-panel display at the HUN WFO


Lightning Flash Trend for Tornadic Supercells

Spatial resampling at 1 km - 8km

  • The operational demands on the spacecraft and ground systems are well-understood
  • On-going instrument, science, algorithm, and forecaster benchmarking studies will reduce risk and accelerate the transition from research to on-orbit operations
  • (LIS)
  • (SPoRT Center, Lightning Workshops)
  • (Real-time LIS and North Alabama LMA)
  • (GOES-R Program Office)