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Name: Richard
Status: student
Age: 17
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001


Question:
What area on earth holds the "record" for the most lightning storms over a period of time? I heard Kampala Uganda has the record for most lightning "strikes", but I also heard that there is an island in the south Pacific the receives thunder and lightning storms daily and scientists actually are "encamped" here to study this phenomena. I just can't remember the name. It was on the Knowledge Network last year but I didn't "catch" the name of the island. I was wondering if you know where this is as this phenomena intrigues me greatly. I would appreciate your assistance in this matter if possible. Thank You


Replies:
Richard,

It is possible that there are a few places on Earth that receive more lightning than Florida, although Florida, by far, has the highest amount of lightning of any state in the United States. An island would have to have a large enough area of surface to be warmed sufficiently long and over a long enough horizontal extent to produce the intensity of convection (into a thunderstorm) that is required to produce a lot of lightning. Orographic lifting by a large mountain may help, but to produce large thunderstorms you need a large source of moisture (which could come from a warm ocean) and a large source of heat (normally from the land). Where this typically happens in the oceanic environment is near the equator, such as the group of thunderstorms that form west of central Africa or in the western Pacific and organize into hurricanes (typhoons, cyclones). There may indeed be an island in the South Pacific (probably not far south of the equator) where the conditions are right for thunderstorms often. Unfortunately, I don't know of it.

David Cook


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