New lightning warning system for sports stadia unveiled

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A new lightning warning system for sports stadia and outdoor venues has been unveiled that can detect the risk of strikes up to 20 minutes in advance to help increase safety for spectators and athletes.

Designed by meteorological equipment specialists Biral, the new BTD-200 is a professional grade system that can provide warning of lightning, and has the ability to detect all forms of lightning up to 22 miles (35km) away, which is crucial for proving operators with ample time execute safety measures.

Lightning poses a problem for many open-air stadia and outdoor sports, resulting in delays of game or cancellations. However, the safety risk is far more of a concern. The new self-contained, standalone system, which can be installed out-of-the-box by non-technical staff enables venues to easily offer protection.

The BTD-200 works using quasi-electrostatic measurements to avoid the problems of false alarms and mechanical failures associated with the detection of lightning using radio wave and field-mill based sensors. Its technology is able to issue overhead lightning warnings prior to the first discharge of lightning which radio wave based systems are unable to.

Virtually all commercially available lightning detection systems use the reception of radio waves generated by lightning discharges as the primary detection technique, however they can be prone to false alarms from other electrical equipment and mobile transmitters.

The advanced detection principle of the BTD-200 enables it to monitor the strength of the local electric field and the presence of charged precipitation, both of which are strong indicators of lightning risk. This allows the BTD-200 to provide warnings of the risk of an overhead strike even before any lightning has been produced.

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James has been Editor of Stadia since 2018 having worked at magazines and websites around the world for the past 10 years covering everything from technology to motoring and more. He also edits Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International.

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