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22.008 Longest flash of lightning and longest lasting flash of lightning

 

Axel Bojanowski
Meteorologists measure longest flash of lightning of the world, 19.09.2016
Spiegel Online, Science, Longest flash of lightning and longest lasting flash of lightning

 

Weather record

Meteorologists measure longest flash of lightning

An organisation of Uno has determined two new weather records: the longest and the longest lasting flash of lightning. They outdo previous ideas by many times the amount.

What flashes of lightning are, determines the Encyclopaedia World Organization for Meteorology (WMO): It is about electric discharges in the atmosphere, which take place within a second over maximal 32 kilometres, it says there.

But according to new data of the WMO the definition has become obsolete flashes of lightning can be much more extreme. The organization, which belongs to the United Nations (Uno), has determined two new weather records: the longest and the longest lasting flash of lightning.

On the 30th of August 2012 the longest lasting flash of lightning stayed 7.74 seconds over the south east of France, reported the WMO. It shot 200 kilometres horizontally over the sky. The discharges had transmitted it from one cloud to the next.

Time-wise shorter, but the second world record holder spread over a greater distance: On the 20th of June 2007 over Oklahoma in the south of the USA a 321 kilometres long flash of lightning flashed likewise quite horizontally over the firmament.

"Dramatic improvements" of the distance reconnaissance the new records had exposed, writes the WMO. The registration of flashes of lightning is though still incomplete.

Therefore it is probable that there are still more extreme flashes of lightning than the new record holders. The danger of a flash of lightning is in any case higher than assumed a far greater area could be affected.

Their encyclopaedia entry about lightning the scholars now want to change: Instead of the flash of lightning would spread in "one second," it is now to read: "continuously".

According to studies thousands of people die annually from lightning; most of the victims are in poorer areas with less protecting dwellings. Above all tropical and subtropical regions are affected; there is most of the fuel for thunderstorms: moist sultry masses of air.

If they ascend, often powerful anvil-like thunderclouds sprout the perfect milieu for lightning. The ascending air causes considerable turbulence.

How lightning comes into being, is still not exactly understood. According to the common explanation two particles in the clouds become charged with different charge. There is friction between hailstones and ice crystals, in which positive separate from negative charges. Small particles become positively charged; upwinds lash them upwards.

Above all particles with positive charges soon hang in ten kilometres height, while the cloud in lower fields is negatively charged. On the ground positive charges are attracted through it in the air a tension of hundreds of millions of volt can be built up. If the electrical tension becomes too large, is starts with one flash; there is a flash of lightning.

Finally the feared 30,000 degree hot current torches flash; they are six times hotter than the surface of the sun. The heat expands the air explosion-like; it thunders. On the ground even grains of sand melt. If a man stands within a radius of about 20 metres, he is in danger of dying.

 

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