Skip to main content

NOAA GOES East Satellite Captures the First Images from Space of Gigantic Jet Lightning

March 23, 2018

 

NOAA GOES East (GOES-16) satellite's Geostationary Lightning Mapper has captured the first images from space of 'gigantic jet' lightning—electrical discharges from a thunderstorm that come out the TOP of the storm and reach as high as the ionosphere (that's 50 miles up)

Two rows of images, the top row shows frames from a camera on the ground and the bottom row shows imagery from the Geostationary Lightning Mapper
The image above shows a comparison in the optical energy from GLM and the camera on the ground.

Thunderstorms can produce electrical discharges that come out the top of the storm and reach the ionosphere (80 km altitude). These are known as gigantic jets. Jets have predominantly been recorded by cameras on the ground. However, new research using the GOES-16 Geostationary Lightning Mapper has identified gigantic jets from space that were produced by Tropical Storm Harvey as it passed Puerto Rico. This research can lead to a better understanding of these spectacular discharges and determine when and where they take place.

Ground-based video credit:

Frankie Lucena, Research credit: Levi Boggs, Florida Tech

Chart displaying radiance levels (femto Joules) of the gigantic lightning jet in the five frames
The chart above shows 5 frames of the gigantic lightning jet - electrical discharges from a thunderstorm that come out the TOP of the storm and reach as high as the ionosphere (that's 50 miles up)

Recent News