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22.002 Mega lightning


Lars Wienand
Mega lightning in Essen-Stadtwald electrifies experts, 29.04.2016
WAZ www.derwesten.de Mega lightning


Mega ligthning in Essen-Stadtwald electrifies experts

On Wednesday evening a lightning was registered in Essen, which was estimated to be 405,000 ampere. But it was too strong to safely determine its strength.

It was a rare mega lightning: The phenomenon on Wednesday had so much energy that the measuring network could no longer be trusted.

The Esseners described it as "mega loud", "extreme". Germany’s perhaps strongest lightning for decades struck there on Wednesday evening. No-one can confirm this reliably, because there is still no method to exactly determine the strength of the rare especially strong lightning flashes. There are several hundred energy monsters every year in the whole of Germany – with one million lightning flashes in all.

Essen, lightning on 27.04.2016, 19:02 (wild house shaker)

BLIDS, the lightning information service of Siemens with a Europe wide measuring network had calculated a strength of 405,000 ampere.

In Europe BLIDs falls back on a network of 150 antennas, which register the electromagnetic fields through lightning flashes. These fields can also still be calculated in many kilometres distance. So every lightning which strikes somewhere in Germany is registered by up to 30 measuring antennas. With the help of the data of several measuring points the software can determine the location of the strike to up to 50 metres exactly and also reliably estimate how strong a lightning was. At least this is so with the large part of lightning flashes, for which already comparative lightning flashes could be measured by measuring devices at the location of the strike.

On average lightning flashes have a strength of 15 to 20 kilo amperes. In comparison: In the house currents flow between several milli-amperes and 10 to 15 amperes; high voltage lines have several hundred amperes.

Circa 700 lightning flashes beyond the strength of 200 kilo amperes are registered in the year in the measuring area, which includes Germany and the adjoining region.

But the strong lightning flashes occur mostly only towards the end of a thunderstorm, when in the lower layers of the clouds the negative charge is no longer so strong. Because most of the super lightning flashes come from the upper, positively charged cloud layers. And when the charge lets up in the lower layers, the positive lightning flashes penetrate easier to the ground.


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