The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported in recent hours that the longest lightning strike in the world fell in 2019 in northern Argentina and exceeded all current records.
As reported by this institution, the phenomenon occurred on March 4 of last year and developed for 16.73 seconds, exceeding “more than double the previous values measured in the United States and France.”
The conclusions of the WMO studies were published in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters, of the American Geophysical Union, on the eve of World Lightning Safety Day, which is celebrated on June 28.
This new brand was registered thanks to the current technologies and satellite images that the organization has, which also allowed us to detect that on October 31, 2018, the one with the largest horizontal extension in the world originated, 709 kilometers long, which could be seen in some places in the southern Brazil.
According to the publication of “News at the UN,” this length is equal to the distance between Boston and Washington, in the United States, or between London and the Swiss border near Basel.
“These are extraordinary records of individual lightning. Measurements of extreme environmental phenomena are living proof of what nature is capable of doing, as well as the scientific advances that have been made in order to carry out these evaluations, ”he said. Randall Cerveny, rapporteur for the World Meteorological Organization.
The specialist further explained that “it is probable that there are even greater extreme phenomena”, which may be observed “As lightning detection technology evolves.”
He also stressed that these data “will provide valuable information to establish limits on the scale” of this meteorological wonder, including mega-lightning, which they are “of interest to engineering, security and science”.
The previous record for the ray with the largest horizontal extension was 321 km, registered on June 20, 2007 in the state of Oklahoma, United States, while the mark that had hitherto had the longest duration was 7.74 seconds, the August 30, 2012 in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region, France.
For these old evaluations, data collected by terrestrial discharge mapping networks were used, although many scientists specialized in the subject already recognized that phenomena occur that are above the limits that could be measured with this system.
In this sense, the agency detailed in a statement that Lightning mapping technology with a broader scope of observation would be required, which was achieved with recent technological advances.
An example of these new instruments are the geostationary ray map generators (GLM), installed on board geostationary operational satellites for the study of the environment, which were used to record the records of Brazil and Argentina.
“This significant increase in our spatial remote sensing capacity has allowed us to detect extreme phenomena of previously unobserved lightning, known as ‘mega-lightning’, which are defined as mesoscale horizontal electrical discharges that reach hundreds of kilometers in length,” he said. Michael J. Peterson, main author and member of the evaluation committee.
The WMO Archive of Extreme Weather and Climate Phenomena keeps an official record of these extreme events that have broken records at the global, hemispheric and regional levels and are associated with a number of specific conditions.