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Vaisala reveals findings of global lightning detection network

Finnish environmental and industrial measurement specialist Vaisala has compiled data from its global lightning detection network, the Global Lightning Dataset GLD360, to demonstrate the overall volume of lightning strokes as well as the countries with the highest lightning stroke density in the world.

From 2013 to 2017, Vaisala tracked 8,761,390,744 lightning strokes around the world, creating a unique data set to help meteorologists develop timely and accurate forecasts and warnings on an unprecedented global scale.

Ron Holle, a meteorologist at Vaisala, said, “It is interesting to watch the fluctuation of lightning strokes between our annual maps in locations around the world. The data shows the continually changing meteorological conditions that cause lightning to form in each area, which does not repeat from year to year.”

The locations with the most lightning strokes include the USA; Paraguay, Uruguay and Colombia in South America; the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa; India; Sumatra and Malaysia in Asia; and the northern coast of Australia.

“The USA has a perfect setup to create thunderstorms,” added Holle. “We have a large land mass with cool air to the north as well as warm, moist air moving up from the Gulf of Mexico. When those two contrasts meet, that is when storms develop.”

Other countries prone to lightning are often in tropical conditions. By contrast, Russia, its neighbouring countries and most of Canada all have a much lower density of lightning.

Vaisala’s GLD360 technology detects lightning worldwide with its real-time lightning coverage network. It offers accurate global data without the gaps that satellites or radars can sometimes deliver. GLD360 detects nearly two billion lightning strokes across the globe each year. A comprehensive GLD360 map can be downloaded from the Vaisala website.

- April 2018

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