LDC Research & Accomplishments
From time to time, the LDC has conducted both formal and informal research into lightning.
Lightning Injuries & Deaths Underreported in Colorado
In the fall of 1992 we initiated a formal study that was eventually titled "The Underreporting of Lightning Injuries and Deaths in Colorado."
Published statistics for lightning injury and death were commonly derived from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration publication, "Storm Data," which in the early 1990s was derived almost exclusively from newspaper clippings. It was our hypothesis that lightning strikes had a greater impact on public health than what was being reported in Storm Data, which we suspected was due to the underreporting of lightning injuries. We set about gathering our own statistics to compare against storm data, and submitted the results for publication in March of 1993, a mere year after our initial meeting.
The report was accepted in June of 1993, and in November of 1993 it was published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Volume 7, #11, under the authorship of Lopez/Holle/Heitkamp/Boyson/Cherington/Langford. The report concluded that fatalities over a 12-year period were underreported by 28%, and that injuries over a 4-year period were underreported by 42%. These results were derived largely from data provided by the Colorado Hospital Association and the Colorado Health Department.
A second, follow-up study, under the authorship of Cherington/Walker/Boyson/Glancy/Hedegaard/
Clark provided data for the first time on many Colorado emergency room patients, as well as inpatients and fatalities. Once again, lightning injuries and fatalities were underreported by 49% (51 versus 100) and 11% (8 versus 9), respectively. The results of this study were published in 1999 in the Preprints for the 11th Conference on Applied Climatology.
Lightning Safety Bag
Over the years we have discussed many specific ideas, but perhaps none more intriguing than the "lightning safety bag." See a full description of the "lightning safety bag."
Lightning Safety Poster
More recently we have drafted a lightning safety poster - a project spearheaded by members Dick Burrows and Greg Stewart. We are in the process of working with external organizations to evaluate that poster for its' efficacy prior to public deployment. You may see a copy of the poster HERE. (Link to Lightning Safety Poster)
It is fair to say that the contributions of the Lightning Data Center have been more indirect, in the sense that our discussions have informed many scientific publications of several of our members. Several of our physician members are among the most published authors on the topic of lightning medicine, also known as keraunomedicine. A high number of the publications are particularly concerned with the neurological complications of lightning injury.
In 1997, two of our members were co-editors of a special two-issue publication of the scientific journal Seminars of Neurology. These issues were perhaps the first ever attempt to gather an overview of state-of-the-art medical treatment of lightning injury and featured articles authored by several other Lightning Data Center members.