Lightning - lightning data delivered in UALF
Delivers recent public lightning data in LLPS/CGLSS file format, also called UALF (Universal ASCII Lightning Format). For more information, see "Data format" below.
Each url will give you a lightning data file for a five minute interval, and the specified datetime defines the end time of this interval. If no datetime parameter is given, it will return the most recent file (which may be 1-5 minutes old).
If there are no lightning events recorded during a given interval it will return an empty file. Files are written every 5 mins on the dot, eg. 12:05:00Z, 12:10:00Z etc.
This service will not deliver lightning data older than 48 hours. Historical lightning data are available on Frost:
Available is implemented. For efficiency, empty files are omitted from the list.
If no parameters are given we return the latest available period. Note that this may not be the most recent 5-minute interval since there is a delay in copying files to the API.
Retrieve the data for the specified date time.
If you want to download all lightning data continously, there is no need to download the available list first. Just set up a cron job which downloads the new file every 5 minutes, rounding the timestamp off to the nearest whole 5 minutes, e.g. 12:05:00Z, 12:10:00Z etc. This is also much faster since it only prints a static file, whereas both the available list and the "last period" (no parameters) are notoriously slow.
Also note that there is a significant delay both in generating and copying the data files, as well as caching in the API. This means that the "latest period" may not necessarily mean the same as the nearest whole 5 minutes timestamp, but could be older if the newest file isn't available yet. If you always specify a timestamp you will either get the correct data, or a 404 error if the file is not available.
The LLPS/CGLSS (UALF) data file format consists of one line per event. Each line starts with time and location coordinates,