Hydrometeorological services and weather companies use lightning data for their own internal purposes to improve weather forecasts and carry out climatological services. These organisations and companies can also provide lightning information to their users and thus add value to their services.

Lightning data for hydrometeorological services and weather companies

Many hydrometeorological organisations around the world are already using lightning data in their operations as part of their work to provide information and warnings.  For example in Finland, France, Italy, Morocco, Poland or Spain, the hydrometeorological service owns and operates its own lightning detection network. In other countries, the hydrometeorological service is a key user for the lightning detection network operator, be they an electricity grid operator or service provider.

Many weather companies also use lightning information in their daily operations to deliver nowcasting, forecasting and climatological services to their customers.

Lightning data, through their accuracy and continuous nature, add a reliable additional element to radar data and satellite images; they exhibit no delays or artefacts and are easily interpreted. Lightning strikes are an excellent indicator of thunderstorm activity; they allow meteorologists to pin-point cumulonimbus and wind shears, and to estimate the speed at which convection cells are moving and the time remaining before a thunderstorm reaches a given site.


Forecasters use lightning data to supplement other data, particularly because of their real-time aspect. Nowcasting is a key application of lightning data.

Climatologists use the data to identify trends within regions or over set periods. Analyses make use of the information to perform case studies, to generate incident reports and to support the analysis of exceptional situations.

Lightning information is especially a key data over areas where little weather information is available as ocean areas...

Lightning data are used for air traffic, for airport and route briefings; they are also used for civil protection applications such as forest fire prevention or flood management etc..

Lightning data are also integrated in products supplied by meteorological services to their customers. Either as a supplementary layer of information, or merged with other sources (radar, satellite).