NSSL co-hosted the Southern Thunder 2011 Workshop at the National Weather Center in Norman, Okla. last week along with the NOAA Storm Prediction Center and the University of Oklahoma.
Southern Thunder 2011 was the fourth in a series of workshops driven by increasing opportunities in the U.S. to detect all types of lightning activity with ground-based systems. The first workshop was in 2004.
Southern Thunder workshops bring together lightning data providers, product producers, and decision-making consumers in government, academia, and industry to advance lightning science and prediction. More than 50 leading lightning scientists, operational forecasters and program managers from around the world participated in the workshop.
During the workshop, participants made plans to test a promising technique for identifying jumps in lightning flash rates to improve severe weather warnings. They also outlined next steps towards producing model forecasts of total lightning activity and provided guidance for those developing web-based modules to train forecasters in the use of lightning data. Furthermore, they defined issues to be addressed by scientists developing platforms for the NWS that will combine lightning data with other types of data to improve the ability of forecasters to warn of severe weather.