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Lightning Location System

#1822


Development and Investigation of the Single-Point System for Lightning Location in the Range of Super-Long Waves

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-MIN/Monitoring and Instrumentation/Environment
  • ENV-OTH/Other/Environment
  • INS-MEA/Measuring Instruments/Instrumentation

Status
8 Project completed

Registration date
23.03.2000

Completion date
03.11.2005

Senior Project Manager
Komarkov D A

Leading Institute
VNIITF, Russia, Chelyabinsk reg., Snezhinsk

Collaborators

  • Vaisala Dimensions, France, Meyreuil\nUniversity of Florida / Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, USA, FL, Gainesville

Project summary

9.1 Status of Problem and Substantiation of Proposed Technical Solutions

The proposed research refers to problem of creation of technical means for lightning location. These means are vitally necessary in certain areas of human activity: meteorological support of civil aviation flights, servicing of power transmission lines, forestry, areas of blasting. Also, they are applied in research and other activities.
At present, multi-point systems for lightning location using direction-finding or range-difference recording are the most well known systems in the world. However, it should be noted that since such systems require wide communication networks providing the information exchange between distant stations as well as means for synchronization with the universal time network, they are used in the countries with well-developed communication means. Russia is lacking well-developed and accessible means of communication, that is why the use of multi-point systems there is limited and attention was mostly focused on the development of single-point lightning direction finders.
Now several serial devices have been developed in Russia. Direction finder FAG-1 based on phase single-frequency H-method provides an “interval” estimate of distance in 0-70 km range with 10 km step. Russian series-produced amplitude direction finder “Ochag-2P” demonstrated applicability of such single-point systems, however it is not widely used due to low probabilistic and accuracy performances. The reason was that a lightning model (accepted in this system) in the form of a vertically oriented dipole preconditioned a high error in coordinates determining. This development is a prototype of the project proposed.
The model of lightning, which is arbitrary oriented in space, is proposed to be used for improving precision of charge location. The coordinates can be defined from analysis of the vertical component of electric field and horizontal component of magnetic field in the receiving point. This statement of task leads to the system of differential equations with unknown parameters; the main problem is to determine stable algorithms (for solving thereof) having low sensitivity to errors in modeling – and namely, to deviation of the real source from the dipole one, difference of the underlying surface from the one with infinite conductivity, influence of ionosphere, etc.
Plenty of attempts to obtain stable algorithms for localization of the arbitrary oriented dipole source demonstrated that this challenge being the ill-posed inverse problem of mathematical physics is rather complicated. Efforts of one of the authors of the project, mathematician A.V.Panyukov, have lead to the possibility to resolve this problem: stable algorithms of the problem solution were obtained and tested using mathematical models and this resulted in creation of new generation of single-point lightning location systems having improved accuracy and probabilistic characteristics of distance and bearing measured from the one point.

Lightning location finder includes the following components:
- antenna system;
- receiver providing optimal preliminary processing of the received signal and its analog-to-digital conversion;
- IBM-compatible computer for processing of the obtained data and visualization of calculation results;
- software, which is a Windows-application operating in real time.

If compared with the prototype, (i.e. the direction finder “Ochag-2P”), a new system will have much higher accuracy in measuring lightning range and bearing line, as well as higher probability of their detection in combination with low price, small sizes and simple maintenance. The project has large commercial potential, because the proposed single-point range finder does not have analogues in the world market as for its technical and operational performances, and it has various application areas.

Goal of the Project – development of the new lightning location system.

By now Project authors have conducted preliminary studies associated with the development of scientific-technical solutions allowing creation of lightning location system new generation. The structural and functional diagram of the system is determined (a.s.721384, N.A.Faizulin, A.V.Panyukov), and algorithms for processing EH-components of emission source field have been developed (A.V.Panyukov, Estimation of the Location of an Arbitrary Oriented Dipole under Single-Point Direction Finder; J.Geophys.Res,. 101, 10, 1996). Preliminary studies of the mock-up confirm viability and perspective of the solution used. Main advantages of the system are:

a) reliable measurement of lightning coordinates from one point with the error not worse than 10% for the distance and 1° for the bearing line;
b) low cost, about $10-12k.
c) small sizes: remote antenna with 25 kg mass and other equipment with 20 kg weight placed on a table;
d) easy maintenance by one person experienced to work on a personal computer.

The following step of the work - is creation a pilot prototype of a range finder. This stage can be fulfilled by RFNC-VNIITF staff with the attraction of experts and scientists previously involved in designing systems when creating the range finder “Ochag-2P”.
Participants of the Project have high qualification in the area of creation of thunderstorm location systems (dissertations of N.A.Faizulin, Ph.D., Deputy Chief Designer of experimental development “Ochag-2P” and Professor A.V.Panyukov are devoted to thunderstorm location) and in the area of analyzing the lightning electromagnetic field. (Yu.I.Matviyenko, Ph.D. and P.V.Petrov, Ph.D.). Ten persons including doctors and professors are participants of the development of this Project. Such consolidation of intellectual forces makes possible the solution of the task.

9.2 Expected Results and their Application

The following results will be obtained during fulfillment of the Project:
- scientific and technical principles of creating thunderstorm location system will be developed and tested; software for information parameters identification by the observed functions of the vertical component of electrical field and of the horizontal one of the magnetic field will be developed; estimates of coordinates of the emitting dipole location point will be built by these parameters; the developed algorithms will serve the basis for lightning location system;
- a pilot sample of range finder will be developed and manufactured for confirmation of principals of lightning location, measurement errors and errors in operational characteristics of the system will be estimated;
- methods will be developed and field tests of the range finder will be conducted;
- procedures of handling the range finder during servicing will be developed.

9.3 Scope of Works

Total labor effort by weapon specialists, and also by other scientists and supporting personnel for the fulfillment of the Project will be 6360 man*days, and total labor effort for the Project implementation will be 289 man*months with the duration of Project equal to 24 calendar months.
Project implementation will include:
- perfecting algorithms and software concerning reception and analysis of lightning signal;
- developing specialized software for processing, displaying and documentation of output data from the range finder;
- developing and manufacturing a pilot sample of the range finder;
- adjustment and laboratory tests of the pilot sample;
- development and methods of field tests of the pilot sample;
- preparing annual and final reports as well as the plan how to commercialize results.


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