This recently reported lightning hotspot via satellite defy the characteristics commonly found in areas prone to lightning strikes, and this area becomes the largest lightning generators on the globe.
The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission, the name of the satellite and the mission itself found that one particular square kilometer on the northern tip of South America as a tight lightning hotspot. In the middle of Venezuela’s Lake Maracaibo, the satellite data suggests that the area gets lightning hits by more than 200 times per year.
Lightning strike over Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela
The basic understanding about lightnings is that they tend to occur over land than over bodies of water, and more frequently around summer and between noon and 6 pm.
Increased temperature difference between the air at ground level and higher altitude increased humid air that fuels thunderstorms.
Lightning strikes at Catatumbo River which empties into Lake Maracaibo.
But Lake Maracaibo is one exception that defies the general rule of lightning occurrence. It is found that most of the lightning strikes that occur over the lake happen between the hours of midnight and 5 am. The hits occur nowhere around summer but in late spring and autumn.
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What is true though is that those conditions do makes lightning hotspots near steep mountains. That is the case for Lake Maracaibo as it is surrounded by peaks of mountains.
The satellite provided the data that there are 233 flashes of lightning over the lake per square kilometer per year.
The data provided in other areas showed:
- Patutul, Guatemala - 117 per sq.km/year
- Kabare, Congo - 205 per sq.km/year
- Derby, Australia - 92 per sq.km/year
- Daggar, Pakistan - 143 per sq.km/year
The researchers published their report to Bulletin of the American Meteorology Society.
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