Earth Networks, the company known for its popular WeatherBug mobile apps, desktop apps, and advanced weather monitoring and early warning systems, is the 2014 winner of the Award for Outstanding Services to Meteorology by a Corporation from the American Meteorological Society (AMS).
Earth Networks was selected for its work in developing “innovative lightning detection data products that improve severe storm monitoring and warning.” Earth Networks will receive the honor on Wednesday, February 5, during the awards banquet at the 94th AMS Conference and Meeting in Atlanta.
Researchers have long known that in-cloud lightning often serves as an early indicator of extreme weather – from heavy rain and hail to dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning strikes and tornadoes. Understanding the enormous value that total lightning data could bring to advancing weather monitoring and alerting, Earth Networks launched what would soon become the largest Total Lightning Network in 2009. This network utilizes advanced lightning sensors and patent-pending technology to monitor the location and intensity of both in-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning in real time with unmatched detection efficiency and location accuracy.
Over the past five years, the Earth Networks Total Lightning Network™ has expanded to cover large areas of North and South America, India, Africa and Australia – providing data on storm formation and intensity to help to protect lives and livelihoods around the globe:
- Providing Critical Data for Operations and Research: The National Weather Service (NWS) uses lightning data from Earth Networks in operations and research. Lightning data from Earth Networks is used by the United States Air Force Weather Agency to support operations around the world, and by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Wallops Flight Facility personnel to ensure range safety during aircraft operations and rocket launches. Lightning data also supports the National Airspace System (FAA) and incident investigations (NTSB).
- Delivering Early Warnings Worldwide and via Mobile: Earth Networks delivers Dangerous Thunderstorm Alerts – the first weather warnings based on lightning activity – to millions of WeatherBug users. And in densely populated Rio de Janeiro, lightning data from the Brazilian Total Lightning Network – established by a public-private partnership with Earth Networks and Brazilian space agency INPE – helps officials make more informed and timely decisions for approaching severe weather based on real-time weather monitoring and automated alerts.
- Alerting to Lightning Danger When Minutes Matter: Lightning sensors at schools, parks, stadiums, golf courses and other locations nationwide are helping to ensure safety and provide peace of mind. When lightning nears, outdoor sirens blast and WeatherBug mobile alerts warn of danger – keeping students safer in places like Lee County, Florida, and communities such as Tenafly, New Jersey.
- Making Advanced Weather Monitoring and Warnings Accessible to Emerging Nations: In 2013, Earth Networks deployed a demonstration weather and lightning sensor network in Guinea, Africa, in a matter of weeks on mobile cell towers – making it possible to monitor and warn of approaching severe weather for the first time. Earth Networks’ proxy radar tool, PulseRadSM, uses lightning data to provide affordable radar-like visibility to remote and developing regions where traditional radar-based systems are too costly to install and maintain.
“We are extremely honored to be recognized by the American Meteorological Society,” says Earth Networks co-founder and CEO Bob Marshall. “Over the past 20 years, we’ve seen incredible advancements in weather monitoring technology and storm warning lead times resulting from the real-time data we collect from our global networks. Yet billions of people around the world have never received a severe weather alert, even as extreme weather continues to take a tragic toll. By using data from our networks, leveraging successful public-private partnerships, and utilizing emerging technologies such as mobile, we are determined to provide critical weather infrastructure and deliver lifesaving alerts to billions of people around the world and help nations build resilience.”
This is the second time Earth Networks has won the award. In 2006, the company – then known as AWS Convergence Technologies – received the award for its leadership in the implementation of a vast real-time, nationwide network of automated weather stations. Today, the weather network continues to grow, providing data to schools and universities, enterprises, and government agencies at the local, state and national levels.