Antenna structures and cloud-to-ground lightning location: 1995–2015

Darrel M. Kingfield*, Kristin M. Calhoun, Kirsten M. de Beurs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Spatial analyses of cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning occurrence due to a rapid expansion in the number of antenna towers across the United States are explored by gridding 20 years of National Lightning Detection Network data at 500 m spatial resolution. The 99.8% of grid cells with ≥100 CGs were within 1 km of an antenna tower registered with the Federal Communications Commission. Tower height is positively correlated with CG occurrence; towers taller than 400 m above ground level experience a median increase of 150% in CG lightning density compared to a region 2 km to 5 km away. In the northern Great Plains, the cumulative CG lightning density near the tower was around 138% (117%) higher than a region 2 to 5 km away in the September–February (March–August) months. Higher CG frequencies typically also occur in the first full year following new tower construction, creating new lightning hot spots.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5203-5212
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • anthropogenic
  • climatology
  • lightning
  • thunderstorm
  • tower


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