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VAISALA CORPORATION                    PRESS RELEASE                   APRIL 30, 2015

When the Chilean volcano, Calbuco, erupted on April 22nd, Vaisala's GLD360, the world's most accurate and truly global lightning detection system was there to record this magnificent event.

Volcanic lightning forms in a volcanic plume as rock fragments and ash particles collide during an eruption, producing static charges. Around 21:00 UTC on 22 April 2015, the Chilean volcano, Calbuco, began its first eruption in over 40 years, sending up a massive ash cloud that generated spectacular displays of lightning.

World-Class, Truly Global Lightning Network

Vaisala's GLD360, the world's most accurate and truly global lightning detection system, located a large number of discharges during the event. Starting at 22:28 UTC on 22 April, shortly after the initial eruption was reported, and extending over a period of about 10 hours, GLD360 recorded 68 discharges within 50 km of the volcano.Most of the discharge positions were clustered close to the volcano, but some were spread out to the northeast, in exact agreement with the propagation of the ash cloud as seen by satellite images recorded throughout the night.

Vaisala's GLD360 is a service that provides real-time lightning data for accurate and early detection and tracking of severe weather. The data is generated by a Vaisala-owned and operated worldwide network.

Vaisala Radiosonde Verifies Observations

The Dirección Meteorológica de Chile released a weather balloon with a Vaisala Radiosonde from a nearby sounding station at Puerto Montt. The radiosonde data confirmed southerly to southwesterly winds near and above the tropopause, where the highest part of the ash cloud was reported by the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center, Buenos Aires, as the plume crossed the Chilean-Argentine border.

Vaisala Radiosondes, combined with Vaisala DigiCORA Sounding System MW41 are used to conduct reliable and accurate upper-air weather observations.

According to Martin Murphy, Senior Scientist at Vaisala, "Information about the polarity and estimated peak currents of lightning generated by volcanic ash clouds could provide additional insights into the mechanism that produces these discharges. Detailed studies of volcanic lightning have revealed two phases of activity, one of which produces large, discrete discharges such as those shown here. These discharges emit radio-frequency energy that can be observed remotely by the Vaisala GLD360."

For details on Vaisala's GLD360 please visit the product page, available here 

For details on Vaisala Radiosondes, please visit the product page, here

For more information, please visit

For more information, please contact:
Melanie Scott, Marketing Manager
Phone: +1 303 436 2942


About Vaisala Lightning
Vaisala's lightning detection technology sets the standard for the lightning industry. Customers worldwide rely on Vaisala's leading expertise in lightning data and information systems. Vaisala delivers the highest standards of accuracy and reliability in sensor technology, central processing, application software, and customer support.

About Vaisala
Vaisala is a global leader in environmental and industrial measurement. Building on 79 years of experience, Vaisala contributes to a better quality of life by providing a comprehensive range of innovative observation and measurement products and services for chosen weather-related and industrial markets. Headquartered in Finland, Vaisala employs approximately 1600 professionals worldwide and is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki stock exchange.