Phillip Bitzer, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Atmospheric and Earth Science


301 Sparkman Drive
Room 224
Huntsville, AL 35899
Campus Map



I am interested in a wide variety of lightning physics questions. I consider myself primarily an "instrument guy" - someone who develops instrumentation to better understand the underlying nature of how lightning works. There is also a very real societal impact related to lightning research. To that end, I am also involved in investigations how to better explore this important area of lightning research, particularly how lightning and lightning energetics relate to severe weather.

Phillip Bitzer's Curriculum Vitae

Phillip Bitzer's Personal Website


  • Bachelor of Science, Physics; Magma Cum Laude, August 2001 Loyola University, New Orleans, LA
  • Master of Science, Physics; August 2007 University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Physics; August 2011 University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL Dissertation title: New Revelations on Lightning Initiation and Evolution Using a Newly Developed Array of Wideband Electric Field Sensors


  • Lightning Instrumentation
  • Lightning Initiation
  • Lightning Imaging Sensor
  • Geostationary Lightning Mapper
  • Dual Polarimetric Radar

Recent Publications

  • P. M. Bitzer, J. C. Burchfield, and H. J. Christian. (2015) Determination of detection efficiency of lightning detection systems using Bayesian analysis. Presented at 2015 Meeting of the American Meteorological Society.

  • Bitzer, P. M. (2014). The occurrence of continuing current in lightning. Presented at 2014 American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting.

  • Carlson, B. E., Liang, C., Bitzer, P. M., and Christian, H. J. (2014). Time domain simulations of preliminary breakdown pulses in lightning. J. Geophys. Res., Accepted.

  • Bitzer, P. M. and Christian, H. J. (2014) A comparison of space based optical measurements and ground based VLF measurements Presented at 2014 Meeting of the American Meteorological Society.

  • Yanoviak, S., Gora, E., Fredley, J., Bitzer, P. M., Muzika, R., Carson, W., and Yanoviak, S. (2014). Direct effects of lightning in temperate forests: a review and preliminary survey in a hemlock-hardwood forest of the northern United States. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, submitted.

  • Goodman, S. J., Bateman, M., Bitzer, P. M., Carcione, B., Calhoun, K. M., Cummins, K., and Rudlosky, S. D. (2014) A total lightning product monitor, Presented at 2014 Meeting of the American Meteorological Society.

  • Bitzer, P.M. and Christian, H. J. (2014). Timing uncertainty of the Lightning Imaging Sensor. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 32(3):453–460.

  • Matthee, R., Mecikalski, J., Carey, L., and Bitzer, P. M. (2014). Quantitative Differences Between Lightning and Non–Lightning Convective Rainfall Events As Observed with Dual– Polarimetric Radar and MSG Satellite Data Monthly Weather Review, 142(10):3651–3665

  • Bitzer, P.M.; H.J. Christian; M. Stewart; J. Burchfield; S. Podgorny; D. Corredor; J. Hall; E. Kuznetsov; V. Franklin (2013). Characterization and applications of VLF/LF source locations from lightning using the Huntsville Alabama Marx Meter Array. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 118(8):3120–3138

  • Bitzer, P. M., Christian, H. J., Franklin, V., Brunner-Miller, K., Burchfield, J. C., and Walker, T. D. (2013). LIS groups and electric fields and the relationship to neutralized charge, Geostationary Lightning Mapper Annual Science Meeting

Affiliate Faculty

  • Dr. Arastoo Biazar
  • Dr. Monte Bateman
  • Dr. Dan Cecil
  • Dr. Hugh Christian
  • Dr. Tim Coleman
  • Dr. Eugene Crawford
  • Dr. Richard Ferrare
  • Mr. Burgess Howell
  • Mr. Daniel Irwin
  • Dr. Gary Jedlovec
  • Dr. Timothy Lang
  • Dr. Xiong Liu
  • Dr. Eugene McCaul
  • Dr. Walt Petersen
  • Dr. Jonathan Pleim
  • Dr. Rahul Ramachandran
  • Dr. Roy Spencer