Frequent lightning flashes act as markers for intensifying updrafts and resulting severe weather, as seen in this composite video of the near-derecho that spawned tornadoes in the Washington-Baltimore region on June 13, 2013. At UMD's Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC), researchers Scott Rudlosky and Patrick Meyers created this animation by combining special once-per-minute images from the NOAA geostationary satellite GOES-14 with data from a regional network of ground-based lightning sensors. Red arrows show tornadoes embedded in two areas of intense lightning. Imagery like this will be routinely available when the next generation of GOES satellites comes online in 2016 or 2017.
Rudlosky’s “It’s Severe” extreme weather blog describes how the image was made.
A continuously updated map shows the past 10 minutes of lightning strikes in the DC area.
Media contact: Heather Dewar at UMD’s College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, 301-405-9267.