The New Mexico Tech 3D Lightning Mapping Array

Bill Rison, Paul Krehbiel, Ron Thomas

Langmuir Laboratory for Atmospheric Research
Geophysical Research Center

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
Socorro, New Mexico 87801

New Mexico Tech's Lightning Mapping Array (LMA) is a three-dimensional total lightning location system. The system is patterned after the LDAR (Lightning Detection and Ranging) system developed at NASA's Kennedy Space Center by Carl Lennon, Launa Maier and colleagues. The Lightning Mapping Array measures the time of arrival of 60 MHz RF radiation from a lightning discharge at multiple stations, and locates the sources of the radiation to produce a three-dimensional map of total lightning activity. The time-of-arrival technique for studying lightning was pioneered by Dave Proctor in South Africa. Here is an example of observations obtained in central Oklahoma during June, 1998 of a left-right splitting storm system that produced large hail and several tornados: