Ocean thunderstorms generate the most intense lightning ever observed


The most intense lightning storms occur over the ocean

Melidis Alexandros/Shutterstock

A new type of thunderstorm, responsible for the most intense lightning ever observed, has been identified by analysing satellite observations.

Eighty per cent of lightning occurs over land, where thunderstorms have stronger convection currents. These air currents bring smaller ice particles high up in the cloud and charge them, setting the stage for lightning.

But in terms of lightning density, which is the number of lightning flashes in a given time and area, the most extreme storms actually take place over the…

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