The internet is saturated with websites that give you weather information, and frankly, most of them suck. Blitzortung is a small project run by a handful of people in Germany that connects a network of hundreds of lightning sensors around the world to track lightning strikes within seconds of their striking the surface of the earth. Watching the real-time map and listening to the 'click' of each new lightning strike can be mesmerizing if you stare at it long enough.
Not only does the website let you track lightning in real-time, it keeps an archive to let you see historical lightning activity. The website also keeps daily, monthly, and yearly statistics to help you keep track of how much lightning has occurred and where. France has been the hotbed of lightning activity in Europe so far this year, and it's easy to understand why given their recent bout of severe weather. Overall, Blitzortung is a pretty cool site to keep track of lightning if you're into that sort of thing. The site relies on volunteers stationed around the world who have purchased a detection kit that's capable of sensing those aforementioned radio waves, determining where the lightning strike occurred, and then passing on information about its time and location to Blitzortung's servers. And for a more in-depth look at the radio wave lightning phenomenon and how this site and its back-end work, check out The Vane's excellent explainer here. The National Lightning map shows where cloud-to-ground lightning strikes have occurred in the last hour. Lightning can also occur within the ash clouds from volcanic eruptions, or can be caused by violent forest fires which generate sufficient dust to create a static charge.


How lightning initially forms is still a matter of debate: Scientists have studied root causes ranging from atmospheric perturbations (wind, humidity, and atmospheric pressure) to the impact of solar wind and accumulation of charged solar particles.
LightningTracker is a brand new online product from MeteoGroup providing accurate real time lightning data. Zoom into the map to reveal individual lightning strikes and click on the strike for details.
Display information about individual strikes: time of impact, amplitude, accuracy and type.
MeteoGroup has invested in the best quality data provider available; with a high density network of lightning sensors our accuracy is second to none and, with advanced detection technology, we locate even relatively weak lightning signals. When lightning is detected in any of your chosen locations, the colour of the location changes and you will hear an optional sound alert for immediate and clear warning.
As lightning is usually preceded by or in the vicinity of precipitation, it is extremely beneficial to overlay weather radar which shows the location and intensity of the precipitation. Very few allow you to see lightning around the world in real-time, and even fewer give you this data for free.
Let's say there's a thunderstorm over Dallas and a brilliant bolt of lightning strikes the center of the city. For instance, the above map shows all 236,232 lightning strikes that occurred between Monday night (darker colors) and Wednesday night (lighter colors). The above map shows the total lightning density for this year between January 1 and June 11.


It's a beautiful sight to watch from a safe distance, but watching it strike in real-time online can be just as fun.
It's that phenomenon which allows a website called Blitzortung to show lightning strikes as they happen all around the world, in real-time. That info is then displayed on the site as a lightning strike on a map, with connecting lines showing where it was actually detected. Ice inside a cloud is thought to be a key element in lightning development, and may cause a forcible separation of positive and negative charges within the cloud, thus assisting in the formation of lightning. As lightning impacts operations and projects in a huge range of weather-critical businesses from the construction industry to energy generators, rail operators to broadcasters and insurers to offshore planners, LightningTracker has been designed to work both as a standalone product and as an integrated add-on to other MeteoGroup products. Even weak signals, which often relate to cloud to cloud lightning, are detected, giving you early warning that there is a storm approaching. In addition to access to LightningTracker, you can also choose to receive alerts by email or SMS and you even have the option to select different recipients for the alerts based on your location list should you require this.
Depending on how many sensors detected the bolt, the system can triangulate the location of the lightning to within a few hundred to a few thousand feet of where it struck, and it plots the point on a map.



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