Correction and calibration of atmospheric impact observations in GOES GLM dataOPEN ACCESS 

Robert L. Morris, Jeffrey Claiborne Smith, Jessie L. Dotson, Eric C. Stern, Randolph S. Longenbaugh

Version of Record online: 24 November 2022


“The Earth’s atmosphere is impacted daily by both meteoroids and artificial objects. Calibrated observations of the emitted light at sufficiently high sampling rates can enable or improve the estimation of impactor attributes such as size, cohesion, trajectory, and composition, but are difficult to obtain owing to the unpredictability, brevity, and high dynamic (brightness) range of impacts. Ground-based camera systems have successfully monitored small regions of the atmosphere at video frame rates and with limited radiometric capabilities, but most impacts occur over the 70% of the Earth’s surface covered by water and are therefore missed by these networks. The Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) instruments aboard Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites 16 and 17 provide near-hemispherical coverage at 500 frames per second. These data have been shown to contain the signatures of many independently confirmed impacts, often from both viewing angles simultaneously, and constitute an observational resource that is currently unparalleled in the public domain. NASA’s Asteroid Threat Assessment Project has implemented an automated impact detection pipeline that processes data from GLM daily. Given a detected impact, the GLM data contain a wealth of information for use in quantitative follow-up analyses. However, impact events differ from lightning in ways that violate key assumptions built into GLM’s design. The result is that GLM’s onboard processing introduces errors into pixel observations of impact events and the calibrated energies near the periphery of the detector may be substantially overestimated. We present methods for mitigating these and other issues to produce a data product more suitable for impact analyses than the existing GLM lightning product.”