Timing Calibration and Windowing Technique Comparison for Lightning Mapping Arrays

Brian M. Hare, Harald Edens, Paul Krehbiel, William Rison, O. Scholten, S. Buitink, A. Corstanje, H. Falcke, J. R. Hörandel, Tim Huege, G. K. Krampah, P. Mitra, K. Mulrey, Anna Nelles, Hershal Pandya, J. P. Rachen, S. Thoudam, T. N. Trinh, S. ter Veen, Tobias Winchen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Since their introduction 22 years ago, lightning mapping arrays (LMA) have played a central role in the investigation of lightning physics. Even in recent years with the proliferation of digital interferometers and the introduction of the LOw Frequency ARray (LOFAR) radio telescope, LMAs still play an important role in lightning science. LMA networks use a simple windowing technique that records the highest pulse in either 80 μs or 10 μs fixed windows in order to apply a time-of-arrival location technique. In this work, we develop an LMA-emulator that uses lightning data recorded by LOFAR to simulate an LMA, and we use it to test three new styles of pulse windowing. We show that they produce very similar results as the more traditional LMA windowing, implying that LMA lightning mapping results are relatively independent of windowing technique. In addition, each LMA station has its GPS-conditioned clock. While the timing accuracy of GPS receivers has improved significantly over the years, they still significantly limit the timing measurements of the LMA. Recently, new time-of-arrival techniques have been introduced that can be used to self-calibrate systematic offsets between different receiving stations. Applying this calibration technique to a set of data with 32 ns uncertainty, observed by the Colorado LMA, improves the timing uncertainty to 19 ns. This technique is not limited to LMAs and could be used to help calibrate future multi-station lightning interferometers.

Original languageBritish English
Article numbere2020EA001523
JournalEarth and Space Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Timing Calibration and Windowing Technique Comparison for Lightning Mapping Arrays'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this