Saturday, May 26, 2018
This Heat Map Shows 8.7 Billion Strokes of Lightning

Do you know which parts of the planet get struck by lightning the most?

Vaisala, a weather data, and technology company in Finland, has a global lightning detection network, that has aggregated data from 2013 to 2017 that shows more than 8.7 billion total strokes of lightning were recorded.

According to the data these countries have the highest density of lightning strikes: United States, Paraguay, Uruguay and Colombia in South America, Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa, India, Sumatra, and Malaysia in Asia and the Northern coast of Australia.

This heat map shows the density and location of lightning strikes globally. Image credit: Vaisala

Vaisala’s technology is a network of long-range, ground-based sensors strategically placed around the world to detect lightning. Individual lightning discharges are located in near real-time by a central processor that aggregates sensor data from the entire network.

Using electronics sensitive to the very low-frequency band, each sensor can detect lightning discharges more than 3,728 miles away (6,000 km). This sensitivity, coupled with the wide distribution of sensors, enables the network to achieve relatively uniform performance over most areas of the globe.

The detected lightning locations are gathered using both time-of-arrival and magnetic-direction-finding methods, in conjunction with a patented lightning waveform recognition algorithm.

Jennifer Kite-Powell
Jennifer is an author and human tech contributor at Forbes and Modern American News covering the intersection of science and technology with art, health, environment, culture and agriculture. She's a frequent moderator of creative, AI and VR/AR panels at events and festivals worldwide and is a frequent guest on 938Now's Tech Scares. Her first book, Love, Lust, Longing and Truth was published in 2017.

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