06 Feb 2024
 | 06 Feb 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Insights into ground strike point properties in Europe through the EUCLID Lightning Location System

Dieter Roel Poelman, Hannes Kohlmann, and Wolfgang Schulz

Abstract. Evaluating the risk of lightning strikes to a particular structure typically involves adhering to the guidance outlined in IEC 62305-2. Among the multitude of factors influencing the overall risk, flash density emerges as a crucial parameter. According to its definition, each flash is assigned only one contact point to ground. Nevertheless, it is well known that, on average, flashes exhibit multiple ground termination points as shown by high-speed camera observations. In this research, lightning data collected by the European Cooperation for Lightning Detection (EUCLID) network is utilized in combination with a ground strike point (GSP) algorithm that aggregates individual strokes within a flash into ground strike points. This approach enables the examination of spatio-temporal patterns of GSPs across Europe throughout a decade, spanning from 2013 to 2022. Average GSP densities exhibit variations across the European continent, mirroring the observed patterns in flash densities. The highest densities are concentrated along the Adriatic Sea and the western Balkan region, reaching peak values of up to 8.5 GSPs km-2 yr-1. The spatial distribution of the mean number of ground strike points per flash reveals a noticeable increase in the Mediterranean, Adriatic, and Baltic Sea regions compared to inland areas. Moreover, it has been determined that the average number of GSPs per flash reaches its peak between September and November. Additionally, a daily pattern is discernible, with the lowest number of GSPs per flash occurring between 12 and 18 UTC (Universal Time Coordinated). It is found that 95 % of the separation distances between distinct GSPs are less than 6.7 km. Lastly, it is worth noting that the presence of the Alps has an impact on GSP behaviour, resulting in lower GSP counts in comparison to the surrounding areas, along with the shortest average distances between different GSPs.

Dieter Roel Poelman, Hannes Kohlmann, and Wolfgang Schulz

Status: open (until 29 Mar 2024)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-18', Hugh Hunt, 13 Feb 2024 reply
Dieter Roel Poelman, Hannes Kohlmann, and Wolfgang Schulz
Dieter Roel Poelman, Hannes Kohlmann, and Wolfgang Schulz


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Short summary
EUCLID's lightning data unveils distinctive ground strike point (GSP) patterns in Europe. Over seas, GSPs per flash surpass inland, reaching a minimum in the Alps. Mountainous areas like the Alps and Pyrenees have the closest GSP separation, highlighting terrain elevation's impact. Daily peak current correlates with average GSPs per flash. These findings could significantly influence lightning protection measures, urging a focus on GSP density rather than flash density for risk assessment.