New Satellite Beams Back Its 1st Photo of Lightning from Space

New Satellite Beams Back Its 1st Photo of Lightning from Space

New Satellite Beams Back Its 1st Photo of Lightning from Space

This satellite can scan the globe five times faster than current satellites, and it includes the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM), the first lightning detector in geostationary orbit.

"Rapid increases of lightning are a signal that a storm is strengthening quickly and could produce severe weather", the agency said in a press release. In the image, brighter colors indicate more lightning energy (or more kilowatt-hours of total optical emissions) recorded.

NASA and the NOAA have revealed the first images from the ground-breaking Geostationary Lightning Mapper.

Lightning strikes throughout the Western Hemisphere during a one-hour period on February 14, 2017.

Detecting and predicting lightning just got a lot easier. In the video above, you can see each lightning flash from a large group of thunderstorms located near the Gulf of Mexico on February 14, 2017. That can help forecasters determine how fast a storm is forming and becoming more risky.

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The GLM is transmitting data from aboard the NOAA's GOES-16 satellite, which made it to orbit this past November.

The GLM can also show when thunderstorms stall or when they're becoming stronger. On the open ocean, NOAA says GLM data can be used to detect lightning more efficiently than a land-based radar. Thus, by using the GLM to watch how storms grow and strengthen, weather researchers hope they'll be able to improve severe-weather forecasts and issue flood and flash-flood warnings sooner.

Scientists showed images from a new space weather tool today that will make tracking and evaluating lightning easier. It can also photograph in-cloud lightning, which often occurs 5- to 10 minutes before cloud-to-ground lightning. "In dry areas, especially in the western United States, information from the instrument will help forecasters, and ultimately firefighters, identify areas prone to wildfires sparked by lightning".

The ability to spot it could allow forecasters to send out alerts for those involved in outdoor activities, helping to warn about the threat of potentially deadly lightning strikes. GOES-16 is now observing the planet from an equatorial view approximately 22,300 miles above the surface of the Earth.

Testing continues for the newly launched GOES-16 weather satellite.

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