Global Lightning Data Essential for Operational Excellence

lightning near terminal
Melanie Scott
Published: Jun 26, 2018
Aviation and Road Solutions
Weather & Environment

Issues caused by lightning are some of the most common — and dangerous — problems facing many businesses across the world today. The electrical discharges brought about by this weather phenomenon can have devastating effects on any operation. The risks to life and infrastructure are very real and happen daily. To support industries that may see devastating results from lightning, Vaisala just launched its Lightning Integrator and Lightning Exporter solutions.

From employee safety to infrastructure damage causing loss of product, equipment and electronics failure, downtime, environmental penalties and liability, the new platforms provide lightning data to support companies that operate throughout the world. The subscription-based products utilize historical lightning data from Vaisala’s National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN), and — for the first time — the platforms leverage historical data from Vaisala’s Global Lightning Dataset (GLD360). 

Lightning Integrator is a developer-friendly application program interface (API) that allows companies, utilities and governments to ingest lightning data straight into their systems, enabling users to gain access to historical lightning data immediately following a storm. Lightning Exporter, on the other hand, is easier to use and does not require technical training. The Lightning Exporter website enables personnel to search for and download precise lightning data for a location and time period anywhere they have active operations based on latitude, longitude, date and time. 

Lightning’s Effect on Commercial Safety Operations

Lightning can cost airports, airlines, government agencies and the mining, oil and gas industries thousands of dollars each minute there is unexpected employee or mechanical downtime due to severe weather or lightning that impacts communication lines and other business infrastructure. Legal and regulatory requirements often dictate the need for historical lightning reports. Lightning Exporter makes it easy for non-technical personnel to access lighting information quickly to justify actions taken during a thunderstorm. 

Lightning’s Effect on the Utilities Industry  

Because lightning is responsible for more than 20 percent of faults to power lines, engineers are constantly searching for ways to determine if some lines are more prone to lightning than others. When historical data is used to evaluate whether a certain section of transmission or distribution line is more susceptible to lightning, utilities can address weaknesses and repair them for future reliability. Lightning Integrator can build critical information into an organization’s existing software packages to deliver critical lighting information seamlessly into the workflow. 

While lightning-caused problems are shared by utilities, data centers, emergency services, government and military facilities, manufacturing companies, transportation hubs and companies in any industry, they are often overlooked until it’s too late. By launching these new platforms and making Vaisala’s unparalleled lightning data widely available, companies — regardless of industry — are now able to generate safety reports, account for costly downtime or work quickly to repair damaged assets more easily than ever before.


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