Thunder Recording Employed in Mapping Branched Lightning Events

Of interest to meteorologists is the structure of lightning channels, i.e. the path of lightning bolts. Several researchers have developed methods of reconstructing the meso structure (1-5m resolution) of lightning, using audio information (thunder) from multiple disparate points with good success. The goal of this project is to create an end-to-end system that records, reconstructs, and displays lightning from a complete storm. There are three major parts of this project; each is discussed below.

Thunder data acquisition. At least three (perhaps as many as six) waterproof microphones and amplifiers will have to be set up with known positions to record the thunder. The microphones will be attached to sound cards in one or more PCs where the audio data can be digitized for further analysis. Software will be developed that allows a person to start the recoding of a storm, record the audio information from each microphone, and synchronize the recorded data from the various microphones (if more than one sound card is used).

Thunder data analysis. The data, once collected (or perhaps during collection), will be processed to yield the physical structure of the lightning channel, and the time that the lightning strike occured. This is an intensive mathematical problem, requiring experience in linear algebra and differential equations.

Storm visualization. Finally, the physical and temporal data will be displayed using 3-D graphics, preferably on a high end SGI workstation. Additionally, models and texture maps of the surrounding landscape may add interesting features to the display. Not only should the user be able to move through the storm spatially, but also temporally, replaying the storm as it develops and declines.

author(s): Lars Nyland (text author), Eric D. Baker (web author)
last update: 28 January 1999 1:06p by Eric D. Baker