About the RMI

Lightning detection network BELLS

Belgian Lightning Location System

RMI has a lightning detection system called BELLS (Belgian Lightning Location System), with which lightning discharges are mapped over Belgium in real-time.

The locations of the different sensors in BELLS. Red are the SAFIR-sensors and blue the newest LS7002-sensors.
Example of the visualization of lightning strokes.

For 25 years, RMI has been managing a lightning detection system with sensors of the SAFIR type that detect lightning strikes on the ground as well as the more frequent discharges in the clouds. The part that detects the lightning strokes on the ground, was outdated and is now supplemented with 5 new lightning detection sensors of the type Vaisala LS7002. These new sensors are spread over Belgium and register the electromagnetic pulses with low frequencies that are transmitted due to the lightning stroke. Due to the combination of the data that every sensor sends to the central computer in Uccle, the exact location of each lightning stroke can be identified.

The last placed sensor in Riemst, operational since 1st September 2017.
The sensor of Koksijde.

The new installed sensors as well as the processing software are state-of-the-art and form together a new and permanent lightning detection system. BELLS can detect more than 95% of the lightning strokes with a location accuracy of 100-200 meter. Herewith is BELLS one of the best lightning detection networks of Europe!

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