INTRODUCTION: LIGHTNING HAZARD
Lightning is one of the most dangerous and frequently encountered weather hazards in Malaysia. It can take lives, cause severe injuries, damage vital infrastructure, and disrupt operations.
- Malaysia has the third highest lightning activity in the world, with average 180-260 thunderstorms per year. (Source: US National Lightning Safety Institute)
- Lightning has killed more than 200 people & injured more than 2000 in past 10 years in Peninsular Malaysia. (Source: Malaysia’s Centre for Electromagnetic and Lightning Protection Research (CELP))
- Malaysia loses about RM250 million in infrastructure damages & business disruptions due to electrical outages from lightning strikes each year. (Source: Malaysia’s Centre for Electromagnetic and Lightning Protection Research (CELP))
- Thunderstorms and lightning activity may worsen with time from climate change (Source: David Romps, Climate Researcher at the University of California, Berkeley)
Early and accurate foreknowledge of lightning strikes and thunderstorms are beneficial in avoiding unwanted damage in properties and loss of human lives. From critical operational projects of large scale corporations to casual daily outdoor activities of the public, lightning and severe weather hazards are becoming increasingly important to monitor and anticipate in Malaysia.
TOA Systems have built a Malaysian-wide, state-of-the-art lightning detection network with the support of MetraWeather and Malaysian partner, Riajati.
THE MALAYSIAN LIGHTNING DETECTION NETWORK
MetraWeather and TOA Systems are ready and committed in delivering true total lightning detection solutions and the earliest warnings to various industries in Malaysia.
TOA Systems have built a Malaysian-wide, state-of-the-art lightning detection network with the support of MetraWeather and Malaysian partner, Riajati. The growing network now unites about 20 remote lightning detection sensors to provide extensive coverage across West and East Malaysia.
The TOA Systems LPS-200 sensors are capable of delivering > 95 percent Detection Efficiency (DE) and < 250m Location Accuracy (LA) for a nominated site such as an airport or utility network with a delivery uptime greater than 99.99 percent.
With versatility, reliability and light weight as its primary design focus, the LPS-200 has been successfully deployed globally at some of the most remote and challenging sites.
TOA lightning networks not only provide total lightning detection and proximity alerting capability, but also offer altitude information about IC/CC events. Detecting both types of events and adding 3D altitude data visualisations provides a better, real-time picture of storm activity and enables superior analysis of storm development and decay.
The TOA LPS-200 sensors can also simultaneously monitor and analyse more distant ground strikes to more than 1000 km. The sensors can analyse ionospheric reflected data to locate both medium and extremely long-range lightning stroke events.
TOA supports a range of lightning data formats that can also be easily integrated into any display or processing system. MetraWeather and Riajati also provide a range of ancillary support equipment including, for example, devices from Campbell Scientific such as the RA110 visual and audible siren alert designed for environs such as school campuses and airport aprons.
THE ADVANTAGES OF EARLY LIGHTNING DETECTION
Cloud-to-Ground (CG) strikes are extremely dangerous to the safety of distributed teams in the field; crews working in the environs of airports and ports; people congregating for events in places such as public parks, or students on university campuses.
The earliest detection of Intra-Cloud (IC) and Cloud-to-Cloud (CC) lightning, which are more common but are much more difficult to detect as they are typically characterized by lower amplitude (strength) and higher frequencies (40 MHz to 1 GHz VHF/UHF), is crucial in providing advanced knowledge on potential hazardous risks on the ground from CG strikes. Cloud lightning has been known to precede CG strikes ranging from an hour lead time to mere minutes with newly developing thunderstorms within a warning zone.
The detection of IC/CC strikes within a warning zone is detrimental in providing advanced knowledge and warning to storm development. The development of severe storms are known to produce high IC/CC lightning strikes.
Efficient, accurate real-time detection of cloud lightning can provide that critical difference in avoiding a certain disaster from happening. TOA Systems’ true total lightning technology delivers that difference with maximum reliability.
Lightning is one of the most underrated weather hazards. It strikes the earth millions of times every year. What is risky about lightning is that a lot of businesses and people are not aware of the danger that they are exposed to during a thunderstorm.
Early warnings and appropriate actions in the event of a thunderstorm can greatly reduce the risk of all people and equipment. Software tools that can display lightning data can assist in making vital safety choices during a thunderstorm.
Real-time lightning data
There are several to access the real-time lightning data. These include:
Visual Display Systems
Email and SMS Alerting
Raw Data Feed
Real-time lightning data can be added to your own software via the TCP/IP feed. The TCP/IP feed is a custom data stream that sends lightning strike data to you in real-time. The TCP/IP feed is a popular option for implementing lightning data that can be manipulated and visually modified into an existing platform.
Historical Lightning Data
All lightning data handled at TOA Systems is stored in a database and can be searched. The historical data is often used for insurance and research purposes and can be provided in a different formats as requested.
Visual Warning System
TOA Systems has teamed up with Campbell Scientific, Inc.®, the market leader for rugged and reliable hardware solutions, to deliver an enterprise-level integrated lightning data, software and hardware warning solution that is second-to-none for a wide range of outdoor locations.
The system utilizes lightning strike data from TOA’s lightning detection networks coupled to high-profile visual and audible warning alarms via TOA’s unique Visual Warning System (VWS) software. VWS can be established to protect people or assets at a remote location and when lightning activity breaches customer-defined thresholds, alarms are triggered at the location. These alarms can be set to escalate as the customer requires, depending on the severity and proximity of the risk.
TOA’s data has applicability to a wide range of industries including:
Saving lives and improving thunderstorm forecasting in Malaysia
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Learn more about our High Precision Lightning Detection and Warning Alert System.
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