SATellite Convection AnalySis and Tracking (SATCAST) System - Lightning Initation Nowcasts and Lightning Alert Monitoring

UAH-P-14009-SATellite Convection Analysis and Tracking SATCAST System Lightning Initiation Revised-01

Docket: UAH-P-14009


Cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning represents a considerable safety threat to people at airfields, marinas, and outdoor facilities. This is a hazard that threatens millions of people each year, yet very little real-time threat information is provided, especially before the hazard forms.

Researchers at UAH have developed a lightning alert tool intended to meet user needs for real-time, accurate first-flash lightning initiation and timing, as well as anticipated lightning trends, amounts, continuation, and cessation. This multi-source lightning prediction algorithm (MSLPA) combines Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES), numerical weather prediction (NWP) model output, and dual-polarization (DP) radar data to accurately predict lightning potential. The incorporation of satellite observations allows for early detection of convection and lightning potential within 30-45 minutes.

This invention presents a significant improvement in the lightning initiation prediction algorithm of the SATCAST system. In addition, it is capable of utilizing upcoming data from the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM). The MSLPA output could be used to create a lightning probability display or an Internet web page, which could then be used by the public and lightning-sensitive customers to generate CG lightning alerts.


  • Aviation weather forecasting
  • Short-term weather prediction
  • Numerical weather prediction (NWP) of convective storm development, timing, and location
  • Early detection of severe storms
  • Cell phone weather forecasting applications


  • Uses GOES data in addition to DP radar and NWP data
  • Capable of utilizing upcoming GLM platform


  • State of Development: Proof of concept
  • Licensing Status: Not available for licensing
  • Patent Status: Patented