Improved detection of winter lightning in the tohoku region of Japan using Vaisala's LS700x technology

Kenneth L. Cummins, Noriyasu Honma, Alburt E. Pifer, Tim Rogers, Masataka Tatsumi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The demand for both data quality and the range of Cloud-to-Ground (CG) lightning parameters is highest for forensic applications within the electric utility industry. For years, the research and operational communities within this industry in Japan have pointed out a limitation of these LLS networks in the detection and location of damaging (highcurrent and/or large charge transfer) lightning flashes during the winter months (so-called "Winter Lightning"). Most of these flashes appear to be upward-connecting discharges, frequently referred to as "Ground-to-Cloud" (GC) flashes. The basic architecture and design of Vaisala's new LS700x lightning sensor was developed in-part to improve detection of these unusual and complex flashes. This paper presents our progress-to-date on this effort. We include a review of the winter lightning detection problem, an overview of the LS700x architecture, a discussion of how this architecture was exploited to evaluate and improve performance for winter lightning, and a presentation of results-to-date on performance improvement. A comparison of GC detection performance between Tohoku's operational 9-sensor IMPACT (ALDF 141-T) LLS and its 6-sensor LS700x research network indicates roughly a factor-of-two improvement for this class of discharges, with an overall detection of 23/24 (96%) of GC flashes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-535
Number of pages7
JournalIEEJ Transactions on Power and Energy
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2012


  • Lightning detection
  • Winter lightning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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