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NOAA Selects Vaisala to Help Support Severe and Extreme Weather Forecasts and Research

With an increase in lightning fatalities last year, NOAA to rely on Vaisala’s highly-accurate, cloud-to-ground lightning data to help its meteorologists protect life and property, and serve as a reliable dataset for severe weather research.

Vaisala, expert in weather observations and lightning detection, announced that it has been awarded a 5 year, multi-million dollar contract by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) to supply its cloud-to-ground lightning detection data for its forecast operations and weather research. Vaisala will provide the NWS with precision lightning data from its National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN), and global lightning detection data from its Global Lightning Dataset, GLD360.

In 2016, there were 38 fatalities caused by lightning in the U.S., which is a significant increase from previous years. “Having precise cloud-to-ground lightning detection helps the NWS provide accurate severe weather warnings and improve lead times, protecting life and better serving citizens. In addition, NOAA and the NWS will use the lightning data for advanced weather research, including severe weather and climate,” states, Matt Jones, Director of Weather, Americas, at Vaisala.

For over 25 years, U.S. Government agencies, such as NOAA, the NWS, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), have relied on Vaisala lightning data, especially when safety is paramount. The NWS provides localized warnings about lightning to keeps citizens safe, the FAA uses precise lightning information to support airport operations and issuing airport weather warnings, and NOAA-NWS lightning research brings innovative forecast tools and weather model improvements.

Proven Science, Accurate Technology

The NLDN is a precision lightning network, offering the most scientifically accurate and reliable lightning information available, and proven to deliver unrivalled performance with excellent location accuracy and detection efficiency. The NLDN detects cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning, while at the same time, correctly differentiates between the two. This is extremely important because the identification of cloud-to-ground lightning is critical to successful forecast operations and citizen safety.

Vaisala’s GLD360 provides unmatched lightning detection performance across the world’s continents and oceans, detecting more than 2 billion lightning events each year. The GLD360 data are especially useful over oceans and in regions where weather radar coverage is limited.

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