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An Operational Comparison of Lightning Warning Systems

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  • a Electromagnetics Division, Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX 78284
  • | b Pittsburgh Research Center, U.S. Bureau of Mines, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
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Abstract

During the spring-summer of 1979, six lightning warning devices were evaluated in a side-by-side comparison study at three test sites. Stock commercial devices were selected based upon distinct concepts of operation. The devices tested included a sferics counter, a corona point, a radioactive probe, a field mill, an azimuth/range locator and a triangulation locator. The test sites were chosen to provide varied thunderstorm conditions: 1) San Antonio, Texas (cold air advection), 2) Kennedy Space Center, Florida (localized surface heating) and 3) Langmuir Laboratory, New Mexico (orographic effects). The evaluation parameters were advance warning time, time to clear after hazard, alarm reliability, and false alarm and failure to alarm probabilities. The triangulation locator provided the best overall performance; however, all systems indicated a need for improvement in the failure to alarm rate.

Abstract

During the spring-summer of 1979, six lightning warning devices were evaluated in a side-by-side comparison study at three test sites. Stock commercial devices were selected based upon distinct concepts of operation. The devices tested included a sferics counter, a corona point, a radioactive probe, a field mill, an azimuth/range locator and a triangulation locator. The test sites were chosen to provide varied thunderstorm conditions: 1) San Antonio, Texas (cold air advection), 2) Kennedy Space Center, Florida (localized surface heating) and 3) Langmuir Laboratory, New Mexico (orographic effects). The evaluation parameters were advance warning time, time to clear after hazard, alarm reliability, and false alarm and failure to alarm probabilities. The triangulation locator provided the best overall performance; however, all systems indicated a need for improvement in the failure to alarm rate.

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