A team of experts has reconstructed the conditions at the origin of the extreme phenomenon.
A group of physicists from Hebrew University may have finally identified the secret behind the superbolta particular type of lightning, much more powerful than the others, shedding light on one of the atmospheric phenomena most extreme ever. Experts used radio wave detectors to determine the time, date and location of thousands of lightning strikes and how they occur in lower-lying storms closer to the surface and sea. Superbolts represent less than 1% of all lightning strikes, but when they strike they generate a loud boom. While an average lightning bolt has an electrical voltage of around 300 million volts, i superbolts are 1,000 times more powerful and are capable of causing extensive damage to infrastructure and ships that are hit.
Despite accounting for only a small percentage of lightning strikes, superbolts only occur in certain areas of the planet: the northeast Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Peru Plateau. These zones have one thing in common: short distances between the lightning charge areas and the surface. According to experts, storms close to the surface allow for formation of more powerful lightning because a shorter distance causes less electrical resistance, a greater current and therefore more powerful lightning. In the future, scientists intend to explore other elements that could contribute to the creation of superbolts, such as the presence of particular magnetic fields or changes in the Sun’s activity.”There is a lot we don’t know about this phenomenon, but what we’ve discovered here is a significant piece of the puzzle“, explain the scientists. “And it’s not over yet. There is still much to study“.
The distribution of superbolts