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Experimental study on location accuracy of a 3D VHF lightning-radiation-source locating network


Science China: Earth Sciences


Zhang GuangShu,Li YaJun,Wang YanHui,Zhang Tong,Wu Bin,Liu YanXiu









Corresponding Author

Zhang, GS

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3D lightning-radiation-source locating network; location accuracy; standard deviation; geometric model; theoretical error


This paper reports the investigation of the location accuracy of a three-dimensional (3D) lightning-radiation-source locating system using sounding balloon measurements. By comparing the information from the balloon-borne VHF transmitter flight path and locations using simple geometric models, the location uncertainties of sources both over and outside the network were estimated. For radiation sources inside the network and below an altitude of 7 km, the horizontal uncertainty was 12-48 m and the total mean value was 21 m (rms), and the vertical uncertainty was 20-78 m and the total mean value was 49 m (rms). Outside the network, the location uncertainties increased with distance. The geometric model showed that range and altitude errors increased as a function of the range squared whereas the range errors increased parabolically with distance, and that was confirmed by the covariance calculation results. The standard deviation was used inside the network and covariance was used outside the network. The results indicated that location errors from a simple geometric model exhibited good agreement with standard experimental data. The geometry of the network, set of measurements, and calculation method were verified as suitable. The chi-square values of the least squares goodness of fit algorithm were verified and the timing error (Delta t (rms)) of the fitting formula was estimated. The distribution of the chi-square values was less than 5, corresponding to a timing error of 50-66 ns (rms).