Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela has been hailed as the world's lightning capital by American and Brazilian researchers.
In a new study, the experts found that every square kilometer of the lake, located in the northwest of the country, is faced with 233 flashes of electricity every year.
What Made Lake Maracaibo Top The List?
Lake Maracaibo has an intensely increased temperature and humid weather that is also filled with chilly winds from Andes Mountains, which is just near the lake. These features make the lake a perfect location for thunderstorms.
In the biggest form of water in South America, lightning occurs nearly every night, with an average occurrence of 297 days in a year.
How Did They Do It?
The team monitored lightning patterns all around the world over the course of 16 years. They specifically investigated information collated by the Lightning Imaging Sensor attached to the NASA Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission satellite.
The said sensor monitors near-infrared light to catch flashes that occur during the day.
NASA lightning expert Daniel Cecil once said that the sensor is taking very fast updates. Therefore, it will calculate a background scene and, with the updates, enable experts to confirm if there are abrupt changes in brightness from the said scene. In the event that alterations occur, the sensor will tag it as a lightning flash.
Richard Blakeslee, also a lightning expert from NASA, says the sensor allows them to see the rate density of lightning flashes with utmost precision on a global level.
More About Lightning
The behavior of lightning, including intensity and frequency, can alter in times of strong climate events such as storms, hurricanes and tornadoes. Being able to comprehend these factors may aid experts to better predict storms and enhance the release of public safety warnings.
The study was published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.