Added Date 11.3.2019
World lightning strike map
What is Lightning?
Lightning is a sudden high-voltage discharge of electricity that occurs within a cloud, between clouds, or between a cloud and the ground. Globally, there are about 40 to 50 flashes of lightning every second, or nearly 1.4 billion flashes per year. These electrical discharges are powerful and deadly.
Each year, lightning strikes kill people, livestock, and wildlife. Each year lightning is also responsible for billions of dollars in damage to buildings, communication systems, power lines, and electrical equipment. In addition, lightning costs airlines billions of dollars per year in flight rerouting and delays. For these reasons, maps that show the distribution of lightning across the Earth are important for economic, environmental, and safety reasons.
Mapping the World's Lightning Activity
The distribution of lightning on Earth is far from uniform. The ideal conditions for producing lightning and associated thunderstorms occur where warm, moist air rises and mixes with cold air above. These conditions occur almost daily in many parts of the Earth, but only rarely in other areas.
NASA has satellites orbiting the Earth with sensors designed to detect lightning. Data from these satellites is transmitted to Earth and used to construct a geographic record of lightning activity over time. The maps on this page are based upon the average yearly count of lightning flashes per unit of area. This data was plotted geographically to create the maps.
Much more lightning occurs over land than over the ocean because daily sunshine heats the land surface faster than the ocean. The heated land surface warms the air above it, and that warm air rises to encounter cold air aloft. The interaction between air masses of different temperature stimulates thunderstorms and lightning.
The maps also show that more lightning occurs near the equator than at the poles. The poles have very little lightning because their white snow- and ice-covered surfaces are not effectively warmed by the sun to produce convection. There is also very little moisture in polar air. These factors significantly reduce the amount of lightning produced near the poles.
For more information about lightning and lightning mapping, visit NASA's Lightning and Atmospheric Electricity Research Center.
World Lightning Map: The map above shows the average yearly counts of lightning flashes per square kilometer based on data collected by NASA's Lightning Imaging Sensor on the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite between 1995 and 2002. Places where less than one flash occurred (on average) each year are gray or light purple. The places with the largest number of lightning strikes are deep red, grading to black
Live mapping the lightning strikes, please visit www.lightningmaps.org
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