Data Available Through Unidata

WSI Corporation

North American Precision Lightning Network (NAPLN)
Data Available via the Unidata LDM

WSI Corporation

Overview

WSI Corporation is pleased to offer real-time lightning stroke data from the North American Precision Lightning Network (NAPLN) through the Unidata program. NAPLN data are made available to universities at no cost over the Internet for educational and research purposes.

Registration is required to request this data, and the free feed is available on an annually renewed basis. Registered users will receive NAPLN data from the primary and backup servers using the Unidata Local Data Manager (LDM) software. The decoders provided by Unidata for GEMPAK and McIDAS software packages support this data format. Details for configuring your LDM configuration will be sent after registration is complete and the distribution LDM servers have been configured to allow your system.

Registration

To register, all users must read and agree to the Conditions of Use of WSI Lightning Data by Unidata Participants associated with this proprietary data set. There are a number of restrictions, including the requirement that all users must be either full-time faculty or staff at the institution, and prohibition of any data redistribution or commercial use or gain from the data.

Please visit:
WSI Lightning Data via Unidata
to register for the NAPLN data and to review the complete description of the restrictions on NAPLN data use.

Responses and access to data are generally granted in less than 1 week.

Please send technical/product questions about the lightning data to:

Data Details

NAPLN data are bounded by 14N to 65N, 52W to 140W. Real-time data are collected in a 1-minute bin, and contain cloud-to-ground lightning stroke data and some cloud flash discharges.

For additional technical details, see WSI Corporation's Lightning Data and NAPLN pages.

The WSI LDM server will be the primary distribution point for NAPLN data, failover feed support will be provided by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona Beach). Data are provided in the following format:

NAPLN extended format data record contents (ASCII)
Header
 
Data record containing comma-separated:
  1. Date/Time[CCYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SS.msec]
  2. Latitude[+-DD.fffffff]
  3. Longitude[+-DDD.fffffff] (west negative convention)
  4. Signed peak amplitude (with sign indicating polarity, zero -> cloud-to-cloud,intracloud, cloud-to-air)
  5. Error ellipse semi-major and semi-minor axes [km] and orientation of semi-major axis
Example: NAPLN extended data format
LIGHTNING-NAPLN1EX,2008-09-18T21:54:00,2008-09-18T21:52:55
2008-09-18T21:52:45.785,50.4214248,-90.1344455,-38.8,0.5,0.25,0
2008-09-18T21:52:46.330,18.5033344,-90.182308,-34.2,0.25,0.25,41
2008-09-18T21:52:46.379,44.1645323,-103.0792998,-25.0,0.25,0.25,78
...

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What happened to the USPLN data?

    The USPLN data feed is still available: see USPLN Data Available via the Unidata LDM for details. For new subscribers, the NAPLN data feed, which has a slightly larger extent than the USPLN feed, is probably preferred.

  • Why do I have to register?

    WSI Corporation makes lightning data available at no cost to the educational and research communities subject to several restrictions outlined in the Conditions of Use of WSI Lightning Data by Unidata Participants. The registration process ensures that you have read and agree to the data access policy. Registration is renewed anually to ensure that current users of the WSI data are familiar with the data access policy.

    Restrictions on use of the WSI data include the requirement that all users must be either full-time faculty or staff at the institution, and prohibition of any data redistribution or commercial use or gain from the data.

  • The data record formats don't match what I'm using

    NAPLN data are available in two formats. The "extended" format shown above is the preferred format for current subscribers, but data are also provided in an older format for which records are defined as follows:

    NAPLN original format data record contents (ASCII)
    Header
     
    Data record containing comma-separated:
    1. Date/Time[CCYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SS]
    2. Latitude[+-DD.fffffff]
    3. Longitude[+-DDD.fffffff] (west negative convention)
    4. Signed peak amplitude (with sign indicating polarity, zero -> cloud-to-cloud, intracloud, cloud-to-air)
    5. Multiplicity (always 1)
    Example: NAPLN original data format
    LIGHTNING-NAPLN1,2008-09-18T21:54:00,2008-09-18T21:52:55
    2008-09-18T21:52:45.785,50,-90.1344455,-38.8,1
    2008-09-18T21:52:46.330,18,-90.182308,-34.2,1
    2008-09-18T21:52:46.379,44,-103.0792998,-25.0,1
    ...

Example

The animated image below is provided by WSI as an example display of North American Precision Lightning Network data.

North American Precision Lightning Network