WORLDWIDE LIGHTNING STRIKES
Imaging Sensor (LIS) Science Team
Data from space-based optical sensors reveal the uneven distribution of worldwide lightning strikes, with color variations indicating the average annual number of lightning flashes per square kilometer. The map includes data obtained from April 1995 to February 2003 from NASAs Optical Transient Detector; and from January 1998 to February 2003 from NASAs Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS). CREDIT: NASA MSFC Lightning
LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE
Within Valine and Kriders study sample of 386 flashes of lightning, each cloud-to-ground flash struck the ground in 1.45 places, increasing the chance of being struck by 45%. CREDIT: Photograph by M. Garay
The arrival of summer brings increased chances of thunderstorms and dangerous lightning. NASA marks National Lightning Safety Awareness Week, June 22-29, by highlighting the unique contributions agency lightning research makes to climate studies, severe storm detection and prediction.
Lightning is dangerous, so improving our understanding of it and its role in weather and climate is important. NASA researchers at the National Space Science and Technology Center in Huntsville, Ala., created lightning maps that show where and how much lightning strikes worldwide. This data is important to climatologists, because lightning indicates the location of large storms that release latent heat; the "fuel supply" that helps drive the Earth’s climate "engine."
Steven Goodman, Dennis Boccippio, Richard Blakeslee, Hugh Christian, and William Koshak from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., helped create a high-resolution world map showing the frequency of lightning strikes. The lightning science team recently presented the animated lightning maps and 11 technical papers at the 12th International Conference on Atmospheric Electricity, Versailles, France.
Rob Gutro | Goddard Space Flight Center
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