International scientific journal

ISSN: 2663-0419 (electronic version)

ISSN: 2218-8754 (print version)

International scientific journal

ISSN: 2663-0419 (electronic version)

ISSN: 2218-8754 (print version)

SCImago Journal & Country Rank

Visualizing the lightning flashes over the Republic of Azerbaijan by analyzing the lightning imaging sensor data

Mammadov R., Rasouli A.A., Safarov S., Safarov E.

1 – Institute of Geography, Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, Baku, Azerbaijan 115, H.Javid ave., Baku, Azerbaijan, AZ1143
2 – Department of Environmental Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia Level 4, 12 Wally’s Walk, Macquarie University, North Ryde, Sydney, Australia: E-mail:


Available lightning data from the Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS) was analyzed to determine the temporal variation and spatial distribution of lightning strikes (flashes) over the Republic of Azerbaijan. Each detectable flash is considered an atmospheric event. Nearly about 2074 flashes for the warm and cold months from 2017 to 2020 were combined to form four years “lightning dataset” of a thundery-warned region, with its scattered cities and districts with a population of nearly 10 million. A “GIS-oriented procedure” was intently applied by importing all lightning observations to create appropriate distinct digital layers needed for the subsequent temporal-spatial analysis. A range of analytic tools mainly for analyzing and mapping existing spatial patterns among data layers have been applied. The resulting spatial indexes have established various temporal-spatial patterns, indicating clusters of lightning frequency and associate values, statistically significant inside of Azerbaijan lands. Lastly, in recognizing the most flash risk areas, a combined fuzzy membership operator was applied to the raster database, based on Kendal Density output layers.
The final results indicated that more than 99% of the flashes occur from April to September with a single peak in June and substantial lightning activity takes place in summer months, indicating a prominent diurnal afternoon peak, in the region. Also, spatial patterns illustrated that the most frequent and energetic lightning events, with the highest radiance values and longest durations, happen over the western and northern parts of the country, mainly over the elevated areas of Karabakh and Caucuses mountains, indicating the highest lightning strike risky areas.

Keywords: Azerbaijan, lightning, temporal-spatial patterns, lightning hazard map



Albrecht R.I., Goodman S.J., Buechler D.E., Blakeslee R.J., Christian H.J. Where are the lightning hotspots on Earth? Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Vol. 97, No.11, 2016, pp. 2051-2068.

Bitzer P.M. Global distribution and properties of continuing current in lightning. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 122, No. 2, 2017, pp. 1033-1041.

Blakeslee R.J. Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS) on TRMM science data Dataset available online from the NASA global hydrology center DAAC. Huntsville, AL 10.5067/LIS/LIS/ DATA, 1998, 201 p.

Bruning E.C., Thomas R.J. Lightning channel length and flash energy determined from moments of the flash area distribution. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 120, No. 17, 2015, pp. 8925-8940.

Cecil D.J., Buechler D.E., Blakeslee R.J. Gridded lightning climatology from TRMM-LIS and OTD: Dataset description. Atmospheric Research, Vol. 135-136, 2014, pp. 404-414.

Changery M.J. National thunderstorm frequencies for the Contiguous United States. NUREG/CR, National Climatic Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Vol. 2252, 1981, 57 p.

Christian H.J., Blakeslee R.J., Goodman S.J. Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS) for the Earth-observing system. NASA TM-4350, available from the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA. 22161-2171, 1992, 36 p. Cooray V. An introduction to lightning. Springer. 2015, 262 p.

Fischer M.M., Getis A. Handbook of applied spatial analysis – software, tools, methods and applications. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. 2010, 805 p.

Gashimov A.M., Khidirov F.L. Babayeva A.R. Strength of the lightning activity in the territory of Azerbaijan Republic. International Symposium on Modern Electric Power Systems (MEPS), 2010, pp. 1-4.

Gelfand A.E., Diggle P., Guttorp P. Fuentes M. Handbook of spatial statistics. CRC press. 2010, 619 p.

Haining R. Spatial data analysis: theory and practice. Cambridge University Press. UK, 2010, 432 p. How Fuzzy Overlay works. ArcGIS for Desktop. ESRI. 2020, 288 p.

Kelsall J.E., Diggle P.J. Kernel estimation of relative risk. Bernoulli, Vol. 1, No. 1-2, 1995, pp. 3-16.

Koehler T.L. Cloud-to-ground lightning flash density and thunder-storm day distributions over the Contiguous United States derived from NLDN measurements: 1993-2018. Monthly Weather Review, Vol. 148, No.1, 2020, pp. 313-332.

Mackerras D., Darveniza M., Orville R.E., Williams E.R., Goodman S.J. Global lightning: total, cloud and ground flash estimates. Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol.103, No. 16, 1998, pp.19791-19809.

Mammadov R. Impact of climate changes on the Caspian Sea level. Journal of Resources and Ecology, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2015, pp. 87-92.

Mammadov R., Budagov B. The constructive geography of the Azerbaijan Republic. Elm. Baku, 1996, 245 p.

Mammadov R., Safarov S.G., Safarov E.S. Current changes of the atmospheric precipitation regime on the territory of Azerbaijan. Geography and Natural Resources, Vol. 30, No. 4, 2009, pp. 403-407.

NASA EOSDIS Global Hydrology Resource Center, GHRC User Services Office National Space Science and Technolo-gy Center, USA, 2013.

Ord J.K., Getis A. Local spatial autocorrelation statistics: distributional issues and an application. Geographical Analysis, Vol. 27, No. 4, 1995, pp. 286-306.

Peterson M., Deierling W. Liu C. Mach D., Kalb C. The properties of optical lightning flashes and the clouds they illuminate. J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 2016, 121 p.

Rakov V.A. Fundamentals of lightning. Cambridge University Press. 2016, 257 p.

Rasouli A.A., Cheung K. Spatial distribution of severe thunder-storm rainfall events throughout the GMSTWA and adjacent the Tasman Sea. The 7th Annual CAWCR Workshop, Observing, Estimating and Forecasting Rainfall: From Science to Application. 21-23 October 2013, Melbourne, Australia.

Rasouly A.A., Cheung K., McBurney B. Hail events across the Greater Metropolitan Severe Thunderstorm Warning Area. Natural Hazards Earth System Science, Vol.15, 2015, pp. 973-984.

Safarov S.H. The trend of changes in the frequency of hail in different regions of Azerbaijan. Proceedings of the Russian State Hydrometeorological University, St. Petersburg, 2008, No. 6, pp. 60-64 (in Russian).

Safarov S.H. Thunderstorms on the territory of Azerbaijan. Hy-drometeorology and Ecology, Almaty, No. 3(46), 2007, pр. 44-54 (in Russian).

Safarov S.H., Mekhtieva G.Sh. The real situation with lightning on the territory of Azerbaijan. GESJ: Physics, No. 2(18), 2017, pp. 25-32 (in Russian).

Safarov S.H., Nasibli A.A., Huseynov J., İbrahimova İ.V. Influence of climate warming on hail events in the Western Part of Azerbaijan. Proceedings of International Scientific Conference on Sustainable Development Goals 24-25 Novem-ber 2017, Baku, Azerbaijan, pp. 83-89.

Scott L.M., Janikas MV. Spatial statistics in ArcGIS. In: Fischer M.M., Getis A. (eds) Handbook of applied spatial analysis. Springer. Berlin, Heidelberg and New York, 2010, pp. 27-41.

Second national communication to the United Nations frame-work convention on climate change. Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources. Baku, Republic of Azerbaijan, 2010,

Understanding Spatial Statistics in ArcGIS. Vol. 1. ESRI Press. 2006, 312 p.

Wanke E., Andersen R., Volgnandt T. A Worldwide low-cost community-based time-of-arrival lightning detection and lightning location network., 2014, 95 p.

Williams E.R. Lightning and climate: a review. Atmospheric Research, Vol. 76, 2005, pp. 272-287.

Yair Y., Shalev S., Erlich Z., Agrachov A., Katz E. Lightning flash multiplicity in eastern Mediterranean thunderstorms. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, Vol. 14(2), 2014, pp. 165-173.

Zimmermann H.J. Fuzzy set theory and its applications. Fourth Edition. Kluwer Academic Publishers. Boston, Dordrecht, London, 2001, 441 p.

DOI: 10.33677/ggianas20210100058