How big was the longest zipper in history

(ORDO NEWS) — Lightning is one of the most amazing natural phenomena. But what do we know about record discharges of atmospheric electricity?

Lightning fascinates and frightens at the same time. But the giants that we will talk about simply do not fit into any framework.

According to the UK Meteorological Office, lightning strikes the planet up to 1.4 billion times a year, or about 44 times per second.

And it’s more than just a light show: lightning plays a critical role in maintaining the Earth’s electrical balance; helps fix nitrogen, thereby helping plants grow; and perhaps even helps to cleanse the atmosphere of pollutants.

But some lightning strikes are stronger and larger than others. While most lightning flashes are between 3.2 and 4.8 kilometers long, some truly colossal lightning strikes sometimes extend hundreds of kilometers. But how big can lightning actually get? And should we be concerned about these gigantic discharges?

The biggest lightning in history

First, let’s look at what factors limit the size of these lightning discharges. Researchers have been trying to answer this question for decades.

The vertical extent of the flash is limited by the height of the thundercloud or the distance from the ground to its top, which at its highest point is about 20 km. But horizontally, lightning has much more possibilities, and this is where records are born.

As early as 1956, Myron Lygda, a Texas meteorologist, used radar to detect a flare over 100 miles long. At the time, it was recognized as the longest lightning bolt ever recorded. Since then, advances in technology have allowed researchers to measure much larger flares, and that record has been broken.

In 2007, researchers identified a 322 km long discharge over Oklahoma. But ten years later, this record was broken: in October 2017, clouds over the Midwest released a flash of lightning so huge that it lit up the sky over Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

Spanning more than 500 km and passing through three states, the lightning was so unprecedented that a team of researchers published a study about it in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, describing it as a “megaflash”. It was one of the largest lightning flashes ever recorded.


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