A reliability study of the lightning detection network in British Columbia




Gilbert, David
Johnson, Bruce R.
Zala, Cedric

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National Research Council of Canada


To combat the major problem of lightning-caused forest fires in British Columbia, the B.C. Ministry of Forests operates a lightning locating system developed by Lightning Location and Protection Inc. As of 1985, this network consisted of eighteen magnetic direction-finders located throughout the Province. Lightning strike data collected by the network over three fire seasons (1983-1985) were analyzed to estimate the distribution of lightning signal strength and the component detection efficiencies. The analysis was based on more than 165,000 lightning strike records. In the mountainous terrain of British Columbia the detection efficiencies of the lightning sensors were found to be somewhat lower than earlier results obtained from similar networks in Florida and Oklahoma. Corrective actions have been taken over fice detector sites found to have significantly worse than average detection efficiencies. A long-range program to improve the system by refurbishing with upgraded equipment and adding several new detector sites is underway. The statistical results vividly demonstrate the importance of archiving and analyzing lightning strike data to provide comprehensive local-environment field tests. In future years the data preparation and analysis techniques will be implemented annually.





Can. J. For. Res. 17(9): 1060–1065 (1987)