Lightning champions: formidable power of nature

From the point of view of physics, lightning is a gigantic electric spark discharge in the atmosphere, whose current on the Earth reaches 10 - 500 000 amperes, and the discharge power - from 1 to 1000 GW. The longest lightning was recorded in Oklahoma, USA, in 2007. Its length was 321 km. And the longest lightning was the discharge over the Alps in 2012 - an electric arc danced in the sky for 7.74 seconds.

“These data once again prove that the observance of safety precautions during bad weather is extremely necessary, because daughter lightnings can move far from parental thunderstorms. Do not neglect the rules and try to stay indoors during a thunderstorm, ”advises Randall Cerveni, WMO's chief speaker on climate and extreme situations.

These figures are so different from “ordinary” lightning discharges that the documents published in the meteorological bulletin even recommend changing the current definition of lightning to “a series of electrical processes that occur continuously” instead of “a series of electrical processes that occur within 1 second”. Note that the world sprinter record holder Usain Bolt is not in vain nicknamed “Lightning”: his record in the 100-meter race (9.58 seconds) is only slightly inferior in time to the most powerful natural discharge.


Why is the glass clear?
Is a warp engine possible?
Flying over water: a century of hydrofoil ships