The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

31 August 2006

Or wait for the trees to catch fire

A University of Oklahoma professor of meteorology and an Arizona lightning expert have come up with a a gizmo that can predict lightning strikes by scanning the atmosphere for electrical discharges.

The concept resembles the electric field detection used by NASA in Florida, says Professor William Beasley:

They use a network of electric field meters. If the electric field is greater than 1,000 volts per meter anywhere on the place, you can't fuel a car, you can't launch a rocket, you can't do anything because there's a charge overhead and it could lead to lightning.

However, this version doesn't cost space-shuttle prices: the production model from Campbell Scientific sells for about $3500, plus power source (solar cell) and mounting.

Posted at 7:13 AM to Entirely Too Cool , Weather or Not