Lightning megaflash in Brazil Breaks Record for Longest Strike, report

0
120

Lightning megaflash in Brazil Breaks Record for Longest Strike, report.

Today, the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has certified two separate “megaflash” lightning bolts originating in South America as new world records for the longest reported distance, and the longest reported duration, for a single flash.

WMO’s Committee on Weather and Climate Extremes, which is charged with keeping weather and climate archives from around the world, published its findings in the American Geophysical Union’s journal, Geophysical Research Letters, on June 26.

The committee said that the two new records are:

Brazil, October 31, 2018: The world’s longest reported distance for a single lightning flash. It covered a horizontal distance of about 440 miles across parts of southern Brazil. That’s equivalent to the space between Boston and Washington, D.C., or between London and the border of Switzerland, close to Basel.

⚡️Argentina, March 4, 2019: The longest duration for a single flash. It lasted for 16.73 seconds, developing continuously across the northern portion of the country.

The new lightning reports are more than double the previous values measured in the U.S. and France for similar world records, according to the WMO. A June 20, 2007 lightning flash that traveled across Oklahoma held the preceding record for the longest detected distance for a single flash of lightning, clocking in at 199.5 miles. The previous record for duration, meanwhile, formerly belonged to Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France, where a single flash lasted continuously for 7.74 seconds on August 30, 2012.

“These are extraordinary records from single lightning flash events…It is likely that even greater extremes still exist, and that we will be able to observe them as lightning detection technology improves,” Randall Cerveny, chief rapporteur of Weather and Climate Extremes for WMO, said in a prepared statement. “This will provide valuable information for establishing limits to the scale of lightning—including megaflashes—for engineering, safety and scientific concerns.”

In the new paper outlining the lightning strikes, the researchers describe a “megaflash” as a horizontal mesoscale lightning discharge that reaches hundreds of kilometers in length.

In past assessments, the researchers used data from ground-based Lightning Mapping Array networks. According to the Global Hydrology Resource Center (GHRC), a NASA partner organization, those ground-based arrays include a network of antennas, GPS receivers, and processing systems “that detect total lightning.”

But scientists believed existing Lightning Mapping Array networks had their limitations; there was an upper scale for the lightning strikes that these systems could document. They needed a technology that could reach a higher echelon. So to confirm the new records, WMO relied on new space-based satellite imaging technology for lightning strikes.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here