Geostationary Lightning Mapper: NOAA’s Eyes in the Sky

Geostationary Lightning Mapper: 

NOAA’s Eyes in the Sky

February 23, 2024

Did you know?

  • Lightning strikes on Earth occur around 6,000 times every minute, adding up to over six and a half million strikes per day. Each strike is a chance for meteorologists and climatologists to learn about and anticipate severe weather.

  • Lightning strikes are dangerous. They can reach temperatures as hot as 50,000°F and reach up to 300 million volts. But they can also indicate greater dangers.


Why this matters:

Thanks to a special instrument onboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) GOES-R series of satellites called, the geostationary lightning mapper (GLM), we’ve learned how an abundance of lightning strikes in one area can mean indicate extreme weather may not be far behind.

Video Thumbnail


How it works:

The GLM instrument provides vital lightning tracker data that aids provides severe weather predictions for climate, weather, aviation and fire professionals. with severe weather predictions. It works by taking hundreds of images every second in a special wavelength of light. The more strikes in a given area, the greater potential for dangerous weather.


GOES-R satellite series’ geostationary lighting mapper (GLM) instrument during testing at Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Technology Center


This data is crucial for predicting severe weather events like tornados and wildfires, which can give experts ample warning and help save lives.