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IMPORTANCE OF LIGHTNING THUNDERSTORMS MAPPING FOR THE GULF AREA CASE STUDY; SAUDI ARABIA
M. H. Shwehdi and Jamil M. Bakhashwain Electrical Engineering Department King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals Dhahran, Saudi Arabia mshwehdi@kfupm.edu.sa recently more frequent thunderstorms. Thunderstorm ABSTRACT frequency does not, in general, appear to vary in any consistent way with rainfall. There appears to be no The objective of the paper is highlight the evidence of any widespread temporal trend in importance of establishing Gulf region data base thunderstorm frequency [1]. Lightning phenomena has and developing the actual Iskruanic level (IKL) drawn interest by PME of Saudi Arabia and also to maps, which is the number of annual thunderstorm SEC, PME has been gathering lightning data at 28 days (Thunders days (TD)); both annual and locations around the country for about 30 years, while seasonal maps will be developed for the Gulf. This SEC has recently initiated outages recording of its importance of TD maps and database development power system. for the region stems from the fact of the global climatology changes, and the rapid industrial In Saudi Arabia, no data, records, and information development in the region. This paper also is to concerning TD lightning maps has been developed or stimulate concern amongst the GCC countries to archived, this leaves utilities with no actual figure for begin collecting of all available data from all sources Iskruanic level (TD) for transmission and distribution in the region, to record all lightning incidence and lines shield wires, and protection design In the South help in assuring safe lightning protection devices. which is apparently has the highest lightning frequency there seems to be very little information on lightning On the basis of these maps, the distribution of activity. The world Iskruanic map established in 1964 thunderstorms over the region can be analyzed in indicates that the Iskruanic level in the southern Saudi terms of its development factors required for Arabia is between 5 and 10 thunderstorms days per determining lightning performances of transmission year. lines and power systems, safety measures of One of the major incidences of lightning effects was industrial plants. A full case study of the reported in the Southern area city of Abha where a thunderstorm days (TD) in different areas of Saudi tremendous amount of distribution transformers were Arabia specifically those where lightning strikes are burned. Based on the reported transformer failure rate more likely to occur can then be easily found is in the Southern electric company (SCECO) [1], the presented. Results of what has been established in Iskruanic level data used for lightning protection design this paper are based on database and records for this region seems to be low and obtained from old available on lightning incidence in Saudi Arabia at map of figure 1. Presidency of Metreology and Environment (PME). This new Saudi Arabian maps will be a great tool in assisting electrical engineers in general, also, such information is very valuable for designing an optimum quality lightning protection systems for the entire transmission and distribution , and industrial systems in the country.

1. Introduction
Thunderstorms are spectacular but hazardous weather phenomena which, together with high temperature, winds and safety; top the list of concerns in the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment of Saudi Arabia (PME) as well as Saudi Electric Company (SEC). Thunderstorms are most frequent over the southwest of the country, and generally decrease as going to west direction. North and central also have

Figure 1 World Isokeraunic Map

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A report recommended that SCECO-South should track keep data records on lightning, and consider installing lightning detection network. Many utilities in world have justified the cost of lightning detection network system based on operation & maintenance crew scheduling costs. Such acquisition of detection networks are valuable for correlating with transmission and distribution equipment failures and outages [2, 8]. PME do not use any detection and monitoring networks it still uses human observation on its twenty nine sites location scattered all over the country. This has been started since 1951 and data are accumulated until present time. This method of observation may have some unrealistic records. PME does not archive lightning caused losses. Some reports from some farmers and public individual who reported the loss of human lives as well as camels, and palm trees burning in different areas of Western Province (TAIF). In the Central Province (Al-Qaseem) lightning struck some livestock and were dead, and valuable distribution equipments has been damaged in different industrial location due to lightning, this large amounts of surfaced losses, and reported, has initiated the idea of this lightning research project, and lightning mapping. Old Iskruanic (Thunders day) maps, although able to provide an overall idea of lightning incidence at some locations, yet are not reliable enough for modern lightning protection design needs. Damages inflicted by lightning to power lines, structures, buildings, sensitive installations, dwellings, livestock, etc. can be considerable reduced if Ground Flash Density (GFD) data based on the newly developed thunderstorm days maps obtained from the reliable PME observations are used instead [2-7]. On-line monitoring of lightning can facilitate improved weather forecasts that can, for instance, assist operators of airport control towers for reducing risk of accidents during landing and take off operations. Reduction of risk of lightning-caused incidents at sensitive installations like those existing in the oil and petrochemical industry can also be achieved [8]. Data has become available from PME sources; where the author feels there is sufficiently long period of data on which to base reliable averages. Thunderstorm occurrence at a particular location is usually expressed as the number of days in a calendar year when thunder was heard, averaged over several years. 2. METREOLOGY OF SAUDI ARABIA 2.1 Introduction Many weather and atmospheric centers as well as astronomy scientists’ recent publications and prediction indicate the fact that there are global climate changes in the amount of solar, rain, temperature, moist and dryness amounts of many geographical regions. It is a fact that many cold regions had become less in temporal, rain, and length of such cold period, while those of deserts climate is experiencing more rain, and cool periods. This increase in rain amounts and cool moist weather time are in general accompanied by thunderstorms and lightning. Worldwide, lightning accounts for most of the power supply interruptions in power lines and are one of the leading causes of disturbances in transmission and distribution systems. In the U.S.A. alone, an estimated 30% of all electric power outages are related to lightning every year, with total costs approaching one billion dollars. This includes equipment damaged, loss of lives etc. during thunderstorms. In most area of the world, an indication of lightning activity may be obtained from Iskruanic data (thunderstorm days per year) [9, 11-13] . The Iskruanic level (IKL) is an indication of regional lightning activity based on average quantities derived from historically available ground-level observation. More detailed depiction of lightning activity may be obtained from lightning ground flash density (GFD) maps, which are created from information obtained via lightning detection networks, or by historical lightning incidence records that include, current, time, frequency, date, intensity, etc, from online lightning detection stations [12]. 2.2 Saudi Arabia Geographical facts and thunderstorms Saudi Arabia is located in Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, north of Yemen. Its geographic coordinates: 25 00 N, 45 00 E, with a total land area of 1,960,582 sq km, with a coastline: 2,640 km, and it is slightly more than one-fifth the size of the US. Climate: harsh, dry desert with great extremes of temperature, Extreme heat and aridity are characteristic of most of Saudi Arabia. The Arabian Peninsula is one of the few places in the world where summer temperatures above 48° C (120° F) are common, while in winter frost or snow can occur in the interior and the higher mountains. Precipitation is sparse throughout the country. Annual rainfall in Riyadh averages 100 mm (4 in) and falls almost exclusively between January and May; the average in Jeddah is 61 mm (2.4 in) and occurs between November and January. Because of the general aridity, Saudi Arabia has no permanent rivers or lakes. Terrain: mostly uninhabited, sandy desert, elevation extremes: lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m, highest point: Jabal Sawda' (south) 3,133 m [1].

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3. LIGHTNING FREQUENCY IN SAUDI ARABIA 3.1 Weather & Thunderstorms of Saudi Arabia The location of the Saudi Arabia is in the orbital overheated region that has low clouds which cause thunderstorm. The clouds accumulate on the land of the Kingdom usually in the winter and spring seasons, and rarely in the summer season except in the southern region because of the southern west winds carrying the clouds. The average of the annual thunderstorms doesn’t exceed thirty (30) thunderstorm on the majority land of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia except in the Southern West region that reach on some mountain to about ninety seven (97) thunderstorm in a year while about nine (9) thunderstorms on the beach of the Red Sea. In the winter, the average of the thunderstorm on the beach of the Arabian Gulf is five (5) thunderstorms while twice (2) on the shore of the Red Sea. The weather of Saudi Arabia characterizes in summer season by a clear vision and no thunderstorm except the Southern West region. In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia the seasons are defined as follows: The need for some validation is quite clear for more accurate mapping. Thunder and lightning observations are more during winter season on many PME locations in Riyadh & vicinities AL-Qaseem, Dhahran & vicinities, and cities of Abha, Taif, and Al-Baha. The PME records of the observations show, that thunderstorms are most frequent over southern, Eastern, and central and especially during the winter months (December-February), also, in the northern region, and northwestern parts. The inland central and eastern thunderstorms occur also during the summer months (June - August). The number of thunderstorms in different areas are about 3-8 day in the West and the north part 3-10, in the East 5-10 day in the north-east 15 day and north-west part about 2-6 days in the Southwest about 3-10 day, and in the South 5-15 day and South-east part about 8-15. It is interesting to note that thunderstorms seem to concentrate around the southern mountain areas more than other places. Winter thunderstorms in Saudi Arabia are mainly associated with cold and very unstable air that has been flowing over relatively warm sea, high CB-clouds develop and occasionally thunderstorms follow. Thunderstorms during the summertime are on the other hand mainly formed inland. As the sun warms the land the air above it also becomes warmer, thus the air may become so unstable that thunderstorm may develop. The frequency of thunderstorms in Saudi Arabia is lower during spring (April-May) and fall (September .[November), May being the quietest month [1 The data collected from PME locations twenty eight (28) stations during the past (19) years in some stations, twenty four (24) years for other stations and many years for the rest, the average complete data for all is ten (10) years. 3.2.2 SEC The need to collect as many records of outages of the SEC transmission lines systems, and their classifications may assist in the validation of PME lightning records. Utility outages records are usually detected on a real time and direct protection devices, which give such data more reliable automatic detection over that of human observation. This is an alternative validation of the human observed records of PME data obtained. The target is to collect from different SEC regions all available records as follows:

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Winter Season months are (December, January, February). 2. Spring Season months are (March, April, May). 3. Summer Season months are (June, July, August). 4. Autumn Season months are (September, October, November). 3.2 Lightning/Thunderstorm days Data Sources in Saudi Arabia 3.2.1 PME The PME has no On-line lightning detection records on the number of thunderstorms (or more precisely thunder days), it has kept weather stations around Saudi Arabia that cover the period from 1951 year of its establishment up to present time. The way of PME detecting the lightning data depends on a human observation and hearing a thunder and lightning as observed by the man on charge. Such way may loose some of its accuracy due to many human factors error. At every station in the country and twenty four hours a day there is a human, who records what he heard and what he sights as an occurrence of the lightning. Then, all data are added and considered as a summation of the lightning during that period (monthly) and accumulate all the records throughout the year. Each station then sends this data to PME in JEDDAH which is the center in the country where it is gathered and stored in .computer database

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Center region from SEC which includes Riyadh, AL-Qassim, Hail, Dawadmi, Around Riyadh, and AL-Kharj. 2. West and South region from SEC. 3. East and North region from SEC outages for the eastern area which includes Al-Hasa, Dammam, and north area.

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The requested outages data are usually classified in a table which contains information such that; the type of fault, equipment type, date of fault and restart line, fault area, number of circuit in which fault occurs, cause of fault and category, duration of fault and finally the description of cause. In the causes category faults are classified as the following: a) Equip.’s Problem, b) Relay Problem, c) Human Error, Known, d) Unknown, contact and e) Weather. The criterion which will be used in this research project for sorting and collecting lightning caused outages from the utilities outages records would be using each utility classification as follows: i. if the fault is clearly listed fault due to lightning this will be taken as a solid first lightning incidence. ii. if it is classified as transient cause, this will be also taken as lightning caused fault. iii. the third categorization of lightning caused outages are those of the weather related faults which are rarely added to lightning. Any weather related fault is not primarily caused by lightning and higher evaluation and consideration of all the atmospheric condition, when it occurred etc…is implemented. It is clear from the outages classification that the weather includes many types of forms like foggy, rain, winds and lightning, but the lightning is the clear direct detection. Yes, the lightning possesses special characteristics of the weather, and by default the number of lightning may be increased due to considering its accompanying storm conditions. Once those lightning caused faults are collected per year discussions with utility engineers and PME mythologist to check all faults considered as a lightning will take place. From SEC records only the faults occurring due to the lightning will be recorded in this project and the rest outages are not of interest to this research and are neglected. 4. RECORDS AND OUTCOME 4.1 Mapping of the thunderstorm days: PME data was collected personally from the central office in Jeddah. Data was received from PME for twenty eight (28) locations all over the Kingdom and during different periods range between twenty four (24) years and nineteen (19) years. All data was received less than one month ago. A Microsoft Office Excel, Microsoft Office Access and statistical methods were used to massage and evaluate how such huge data would be analyzed. Tabularization and plotting using the Microsoft Office Excel program was useful to determine the approach of analysis. Moreover, previous research that made possible for establishing USA IKL level map was also helpful to look into the seasonal categorization as one method for analysis and observing the highest lightning density [9-14]. Then the annual lightning flashover per year (Td/yr) was statistically calculated. This will determine the density for one year and at certain PME location. The total annual average lightning flashover along with the total seasonal average lightning flashover was determined in tables and plots forms for further use by the Simulation GIS software. Table 1 illustrates the seasonal and the annual average data obtained from PME all locations as classified. For a long time now, PME has collected data for the number of days that observers (located throughout sighting locations in Saudi Arabia) heard thunder or seen lightning. This information is published in formal map using Arcview GIS, Figure 2 illustrates the new map of the total number of thunderstorms days expected annually, averaged over a number of years. Other seasonal maps were produced in both color and lines/number contours. Such maps indicates which of the seasons have more lightning and at what region of the country. It is obvious that, the highest concentration of Iskruanic level (IKL) during the whole year located in the southern and mountain regions such as in the city of Taif, and Abha, while it is very low on the shore sides of the Red Sea such as Jeddah. Moreover, the seasonal average within the same period was published in map form using GIS as shown in. Such a map is called an Iskruanic level (IKL) chart. The chart does not give information on the severity of lightning, but it supplies valuable data on the relative probability of lightning in different regions of Saudi Arabia. Table 1 illustrates that the highest average of IKL happened in spring season. While, the lowest average happened in summer season. 5. Conclusion and Recommendations • Developed maps of the IKL (TD) are the first to be established in the history of Saudi Arabia. These maps are essential for PME, SEC and transmission and distribution lines designer. • Need to make validation of the PME data of the average lightning for nineteen years (19) years with some other Saudi Arabian lightning data records. • It is obvious that, the highest concentration of Iskruanic level (IKL) during the whole years located in the southern and mountain regions such as Taif, Abha, and Al Baha while it is very low on the beach of the Red Sea such as Jeddah. • The average of the annual thunderstorms doesn’t exceed thirty (30) thunderstorms on the

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majority land of Saudi Arabia except in the Southern and West regions. However, it reaches in some mountain to about ninety seven (97) thunderstorms days per year, while it is very low, around nine (9) thunderstorms, on the shores of the Red Sea. • Table 4.1 illustrates that the highest average of Iskruanic level (IKL) happened in spring season. While, the lowest average happened in summer season. • As a future recommendations, and based on the refined Saudi Arabia IKL maps one can do the following: 1. Collection through Lightning detector network all lightning incidence for more characteristics of lightning types as well as establishment of a national Ground Flash Density Ng equation for Saudi Arabia, this necessitate to acquire on-line detection network to collect data for a sufficient time period to obtain more accurate estimation for lightning, prediction, and parameters beside more metrological and geographical data. 2. Coordination and correlation of outage records if obtained from SEC with lightning location network data if acquired to be established, which identifies lightning events that cause flashovers, from other causes of outages for the transmission lines. Acknowledgements The author appreciates the full financial support by the City of King Abdul Aziz of Science and Technology (KACST), also continued support of KFUPM. My Sincere Appreciation to my EE students of the Capstone Project Group A of 2004 for excellent participation. 6. REFERENCES

[6] De la Rosa et al, “Characterization of lightning for
application to electric power systems”, CIGRE TF Report, Electra, December 2000.

[7] CIGRE Lightning flash counter. Part 1
Specification. Part 2 Guide for estimating ground flash density CIGRE lightning flash counter. Electra, 22, 149-171.

[8] W.R. Burrows, P. King, P.J. Lewis, B.
Kochtubajda, B. Snyder, V. Turcotte, “Lightning Occurrence Patterns over Canada and Adjacent United States from Lightning Detection Network Observations”, Atmosphere-Ocean, 13 Aug 2001.

[9] F. De La Rosa, W. Chisholm, A. Galván, F.
Heidler, V. Rakov, “Lightning Characteristics Relevant for Electrical Engineering: Assessment of Sensing, Recording and Mapping Requirements in the Light of Present Technological Advancements”, CIGRE Task Force 33.01.02 Brochure 94, 1994

[10] Lightning Ground Flash Density Measurements in
Canada: 1990-1996’, W. Janischewskyj, J. Beattie and W.A. Chisholm, Final Report for Canadian Electrical Association Contract 179T382A, Sept. 1998.

[11]

D.J. Boccippio, K.L. Cummins, H.J. Christian and S.J. Goodman, “Combined Satellite- and Surface-Based Estimation of the Intra-cloudCloud to Ground Lightning Ratio over the Continental United States”, Monthly Weather Review Vol.129, pp 108-122

[12]

[1] http://www.pme.gov.sa/,Presidencyof
Metrological & Environment (PME).

[2] The IEEE Working Group," Guide for Improving
Lightning Performance of Electric Power Overhead Distribution Lines," Approved as IEEE Standard P1410, 2001.

De la Rosa et al, “Lightning Characteristics Relevant for Electrical Engineering: Assessment of Sensing, Recording and Mapping Requirements in the Light of Present Technological Advancements”, CIGRE TF·33.01.02, Report No. 94, July 1995.

[13]

[3] Atlas of Saudi Arabia,
education, 1989 Saudi Arabia

Ministry of Higher

De la Rosa, F, Nucci, C.A., Rakov, V., “Lightning and its Impact on Power Systems”, CIGRE SC33 International Conference, Zagreb, Croatia, 1998.

[14] [4] Anderson, R.B., Eriksson, A.J., Kroninger, H.,
Meal, D.V. and Smith, M.A. 1984. Lightning and thunderstorm parameters, IEEE Int Conf Lightning and Power Systems, London, UK.

H. Torres, et al “Experiences and first results of Colombian lightning location network” Proceedings 23rd International Conference on Lightning Protection, pp. 186-190, Firenze, 1996.

[5] IEEE STD. 1243-1997, IEEE Design Guide
for Improving the Lightning Performance of Transmission Lines.

Table 1 the total

annual and seasonal average TD for the 19 years TOTAL AVERAGE WINTER SPRING 3.541 2.63 6.26 2.04 3.13 2.11 5.88 5.47 2 5.92 4.25 1.1 1.92 7.75 3.42 2.67 2.67 2.95 0.79 8.12 2.67 4.46 0.74 2.63 6.55 1.68 0.89 2.1 1.77 41 32.58 9.74 5.54 6.17 25.16 8.58 12.63 3.89 10.54 15.46 4.14 1.83 5 35.52 8.33 7.71 3.68 11.11 11.58 5.96 10.04 5.05 4.54 43 6.95 5 0.96 1.14

CITY ABHA ALBAHA ALAHSA AL JOUF ARAR BISHA DHAHRAN QASSIEM GURAYAT HAFR HAIL JIZAN JEDDAH KFIA KHAMIS KKIA MADINAH MAKKAH NAJRAN QAISUMA RAFHA RIYADH Old SHARORAH TABUK TAIF TURIEF Wadi Dwaser WAJH YANBU

SUMMER 42.54 21.05 0.26 0.16 0.29 3.89 0.04 0.21 0.05 0.23 0.58 17.14 1.17 0 29.83 0.13 2.83 2.89 3.74 0.37 0.13 0.25 3.37 0.79 16.86 0.32 0.78 0.04 0.47

AUTUMN 10.25 11.16 0.79 4.25 5.54 4.05 1.67 5.53 5.58 3.31 8.92 16.38 4.08 2 7.33 0.83 7 9.95 0.47 5.4 4.54 1 0.89 6.54 29.59 6.95 0.5 1.38 3.82

ANNUAL 97.33 67.42 17.1 11.96 15.13 35.21 16.17 23.84 11.53 20 29.21 38.76 9 14.75 76.13 11.96 20.21 19.47 12.75 25.5 13.29 15.75 10.1 14.5 96 15.89 7.17 4.46 7.14

Figure 2 The Annual Average Thunderstorm/days/year of Saudi Arabia in lines contour

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