How the intensity of thunderstorms around the globe is studied?

The nature of lightning at all times was interesting for a human and in particular he was interested in the geographical pattern of lightning activity. After years of study, NASA scientists learned how to define such places using satellites for monitoring and sensors. As it turned out, lightning get attracted by such areas as the Himalayas and Florida in the United States, but the vastness of the ocean, as well as north and south poles are not popular places for lightning. Let's see the geographic location of various regions and the intensity of lightning strikes into them.

Hugh Christian, Project Manager of the National Space Science and Technology Center, noted that lightning strikes directly depend on the geographical coordinates and time of the year. The researches that allow us to study the nature of a lightning strike are possible thanks to the use of two satellite detectors -Optical Transient Detector (OTD) and Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS). This equipment looks for changes in the upper atmosphere, which can not be noticed by human eye, using high-speed cameras. OTD and LIS can detect short lightning flashes even during the daytime. Development of space optical sensors and detectors allowed scientists to find out a complete picture of lightning activity across the planet.

How the intensity of thunderstorms around the globe is studied?

The figure shows a map of lightning activity, depending on the region. The most active are painted in black, red, orange and brown colors. Low thunderstorm activity is shown by white, grey, purple and blue.

The studies show the uneven distribution of lightning strikes around the globe. New maps of thunderstorm activity show that Florida is one of the places where lightning is very active. This is explained by the fact that the region is exposed to two sea breezes - one from the east coast and one from the west coast. The pressure between the two streams enhances the lifting air mass from the ground and forms a thunderstorm. The Himalayas are also subject to frequent lightning strikes, due to the extreme terrain relief, due to the peculiarities of which the attraction of air masses from the Indian Ocean enhances.

What is the most "popular" region for a lightning strike? Answer - Central Africa! It is incredible but there are thunderstorms throughout the year. This is the result of weather conditions, also triggered by air currents from the Atlantic Ocean and is enhanced due to the mountainous terrain.
Satellite data also monitor the regularity and intensity of lightning with the course of time. In the northern hemisphere, for example, the majority of lightning occurs during the summer period. But in equatorial regions lightning appears more often during autumn and spring.

For example, Arctic region and the Antarctic are slightly subject to lightning strikes, as well as the islands of the Pacific Ocean and other oceanic areas. Ocean surface does not heat up as much as the Earth during the day due to the higher heat capacity of water. Heating of the low-lying layer of air is crucial for the formation of storms, that is why, the oceans are not often exposed to storms.
We are always happy to share interesting facts about the nature of lightning with you! Our technical specialists are looking forward to your questions.

Related Articles: