Please download the full report here.
Due to its relevance and potential as climatological variable, lightning has been added to the list of Essential Climate Variables (ECV) in the GCOS Implementation Plan, including a first attempt to define the requirements for climate monitoring of lightning measurements. Action 29 of the GCOS Implementation Plan called for defining “the requirement for lightning measurements, including data exchange, for climate monitoring and to encourage space agencies and operators of ground-based systems to strive for global coverage and reprocessing of existing datasets”.
In order to follow up on this action, the Atmospheric Observation Panel for Climate (AOPC) agreed during AOPC-22 (Exeter, UK, March 2017, (GCOS, 2017)) on the creation of a dedicated task-team on lightning observations for climate applications (TTLOCA). This task team continues the work related to lightning observations of the Task Team on the Use of Remote Sensing Data for Climate Monitoring of the Commission for Climatology (CCl) as a joint GCOS/CCL task team.
This study summarizes the work done by TTLOCA and covers key aspects of lightning observations for climate applications. It explains the relevance of lightning observations for climate, describes the current status of observations, discusses gaps and open research questions and provides suggestions for monitoring requirements for lightning, including metadata requirements. Recommendations are summarized in the beginning of the document with the intention that these recommendations will be considered for the respective WMO regulations.
In addition, a glossary is added in order to standardize the terminology. The report concludes with recommendations on how to observe lightning and manage data so it can be used for climate monitoring and science.