June 5

Lightning Strike API Now Available



Severe Weather season is in full swing in the US and that means lightning strikes are a common concern. According to the UK Met Office, there are over 1.4 billion lightning strikes globally per year or around 44 per second.  That’s a lot of lightning, and now it’s available for use with our new Lightning Strike API endpoints!

As a value-added reseller of Earth Networks Total Lightning Network, we have been working hard to add lightning to our Weather API offerings. Last year, we added lightning strikes to AerisWeather Maps and today we are announcing the addition of two lightning strike API endpoints within the AerisWeather API.   The lightning summary endpoint and the lightning strike endpoint are available with all AerisWeather API plans with no additional costs.

Now you can include lightning strike information within your web and mobile application without additional expense and custom contracts!

Lightning Strike Endpoint

The lightning strike endpoint provides information on individual lightning strikes/pulses, including location, polarity, amperage, pulse type and estimate height (for the cloud to cloud pulses).  The lightning strike API defaults to providing cloud-to-ground strikes, while intracloud (cloud-to-cloud) pulse information is also available. This endpoint is available with all AerisWeather API subscriptions.

Lightning queries can be made for a selected location, returning information on lightning strikes within a 25 mile (approximately 40km) radius for up to the past 5 minutes.

For example, the following query will return up to the 100 closest lightning strikes within a 25-mile radius of Miami, Florida that occurred over the past 5 minutes:

Depending on your use case, you may want to lower the radius by passing the radius parameter.  For strikes within 10 miles of Atlanta, GA:

If you’re interested in intracloud (cloud-to-cloud) pulses instead, utilize the   parameter:

For the combined cloud-to-ground and intracloud lightning strikes, use  :

By default, the lightning strike endpoint will return data for the past five minutes, though in some use cases you may need a shorter interval. To query lightning strikes over the past minute instead, utilize :

Response When Lightning Strikes Aren’t Found

If by chance, there haven’t been lightning strikes/pulses near the requested location, the API will respond with the standard   warning response:


Lightning Summary Endpoint

The new lightning summary endpoint is available with all AerisWeather API subscriptions and provides summary information on strikes that may have occurred over the past 5 minutes. This endpoint is perfect for providing information on the number of total strikes, as well as the break down of negative and positive strikes.

Worldwide Lightning Summary

A unique feature of the lightning/summary endpoint is its ability to provide a summary of global lightning over the past 5 minutes. Want to display an estimate of the total global lightning strikes over the past five minutes? Query the endpoint with no specific query parameters, which can definitely be a unique statistic:

Nearby Lightning Summary

You can also return a summary of the lightning strikes near a specific location. The following query will return a summary of strike information over the past 5 minutes for a 50 miles radius of Miami, FL:

The returned lightning/summary will include the total number of lightning strikes within 50 miles, along with the total number of negative vs positive polarity strikes.  This information can be used as often times positive strikes can be stronger and more dangerous.

Intracloud / Cloud-to-Cloud Pulses

All subscriptions provide cloud-to-ground strike information and intracloud (cloud-to-cloud) information. For intracloud data, use  :

To include both intracloud and cloud-to-ground strikes, use  :

Lightning Strikes on a Map

Along with the new lightning strike API endpoints, we continue to offer our lightning-strike layers via AerisWeather Maps.  These layers are available for use by all Maps subscribers.

The  layer displays lightning strikes that have occurred over the past 15 minutes, fading from white (latest strikes) to gray (oldest strikes). The layer is updated every five minutes. For instance, you want to display lightning strikes around Gloster, LA for the past 15 minutes:

Lighting strike API - Strikes near Gloster, LA - past 15 minutes

Lighting strike API – Strikes near Gloster, LA – past 15 minutes

The following is the same map region but with lightning strikes for the past 5 minutes using the   layer instead:

Lighting Strike API - Strikes near Gloster, LA for the past 5 minutes

Lighting Strike API – Strikes near Gloster, LA for the past 5 minutes

You can also combine multiple overlays to provide a more detailed visualization, such as in this example that adds county boundaries and interstates:

Detailed view of lightning strikes near Gloster, LA

Detailed view of lightning strikes near Gloster, LA

Start Using the Lightning Strike API Today!

The new lightning strike endpoints are available for use today with your AerisWeather API and Maps subscriptions. Not currently an AerisWeather API user? Check out our Free Developer Trial or contact our accounts team for assistance.



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