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Lightning - Historical Risk, Global (v1.0)


This is a static historical dataset for the globe capturing the near-historical risk from all lightning strikes using data from 1995 to 2015.

lightning, risk, global, hazard, damage, storm, atmosphere
Temporal Extent:
1995-05-04 to 2015-01-01
55 km
Product Version:

Technical Description

The Lightning Historical Risk product captures the near-historical risk of all types of lightning strikes across the world. The dataset is a lightning climatology containing a variety of gridded climatologies of total lightning flash rates obtained from two lightning detection sensors - the space-borne Optical Transient Detector (OTD) on Orbview-1 and the Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS) onboard the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite. This layer displays the historical lightning strike risk or the likelihood of lightning occurrence using data captured between 1995 and 2015.

The extended data set from TRMM LIS, which covers observations between latitudes of +/- 38 degrees from 1998 to 2015, strengthens the combined climatology in the tropics and subtropics where readings from both instruments are present. Lightning occurs most frequently in the tropical and subtropical latitudes. For latitudes beyond +/- 38 degrees, data from 1995 to 2000 comes solely from OTD.

This dataset includes total lightning which is the sum of intra-cloud, inter-cloud, and cloud-to-ground lightning strikes observed globally during this time period. Cloud-to-ground strikes are not separated from total lightning in this dataset. The product consists of the annual lightning flash density which is the average number of lightning flashes per square kilometer per year for a location as well as a scaled lightning flash risk index for each location. Ocean areas are masked out in this dataset.

This dataset contains the following fields:

  • annual_lightning_flash_density: The annual lightning flash density in lightning flashes per square kilometer at that location. These values range from 0 to 160.405.
  • lightning_risk_index: The lightning flash risk index at that location. These are the annual lightning flash density values, but linearly rescaled to fall between 0 and 100.