Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Lightning: Principles, Instruments and Applications, DOI 10.1007/978-1-4020-9079-0 13, © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009.


This article provides a brief survey of the space- and ground-based studies of lightning performed by investigators at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The primary goal of these studies was to further understand unique lightning signatures known as Narrow Bipolar Events (NBEs). First, an overview is presented of the Fast On-orbit Recording of Transient Events (FORTE) satellite and of the ground-based Los Alamos Sferic Array (LASA). This is followed by a summary of the phenomenology, physics, and meteorological context of NBEs and NBE-related discharges. This article also discusses additional radio frequency and optical observations of lightning made by the FORTE satellite and concludes with an outlook on LANL’s growing interest in the use of lightning observations in the study of severe weather and hurricane intensification.