AN EPIC lightning flash over Brazil has just been labelled as the single longest lightning bolt ever recorded.
At 440-mile-long, it was so big it could connect Chicago with Toronto.
The lightning bolt was picked up on this satellite image[/caption]
The mega bolt actually occurred back in 2018 on Halloween.
Fresh analysis from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has now given it the world’s longest lightning bolt to be recorded title.
New satellite technology was used to compare the epic 2018 flash to the previous record holder.
This was a 200-mile-long lightning bolt that lit up the sky over Oklahoma in 2007.
This is another lightning bolt captured over Brazil[/caption]
As the new record holding bolt is over twice as big as the previous one, you would be forgiven for thinking that lightning strikes are getting larger.
However, the WMO thinks it’s because the technology we use to measure them is getting better.
Professor Randall Cerveny, chief rapporteur of Weather and Climate Extremes for WMO, said: “These are extraordinary records from single lightning flash events.
“Environmental extremes are living measurements of what nature is capable, as well as scientific progress in being able to make such assessments.
“It is likely that even greater extremes still exist, and that we will be able to observe them as lightning detection technology improves.
“This will provide valuable information for establishing limits to the scale of lightning – including megaflashes – for engineering, safety and scientific concerns.”
South America sees a lot of lightning because it tends to strike in highly humid areas.
As part of its recent research the WMO used weather-monitoring satellites operated by the EU, the US and China.
The study also found a lightning bolt which broke the record for longest duration.
This flash lit up the sky over northern Argentina for almost 17 seconds in March 2019.
These findings were published by the American Geophysical Union’s Geophysical Research Letters.
What causes lightning?
Here's everything you need to know…
- Lightning is a big flash or bolt of electricity caused by a thunderstorm
- They’re thought to kill between 75 to 100 unlucky souls every year
- Strikes are actually formed by frozen raindrops in the sky
- Within a thunderclap, bits of ice bump into one another, forming an electrical charge
- After a while, the whole cloud fills up with electrical charges
- These split into negatively charged electrons at the bottom of the cloud and positively charged protons at the top
- Eventually, the cloud discharges by sending a bolt of current to the ground
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