Lightning strikes 300 miles from North pole

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Lightning strikes 300 miles from North pole

Postby TheVat on August 13th, 2019, 12:42 pm ... noredirect

On Saturday, multiple lightning strikes were detected within 300 miles of the North Pole, according to the National Weather Service. The bolts — which were the product of towering storm clouds that, if seen in lower latitudes, would amount to ordinary thunderstorms — were noticed by sharp-eyed forecasters at the NWS office in Fairbanks, Alaska.

The thunderstorms at the top of the world struck in the midst of an extreme summer that has featured record-low sea ice levels and much-above-average temperatures across much of the Arctic Ocean, including at the pole itself. In Greenland in late July and early August, an extreme weather event led to record levels of ice melt into the sea, tangibly raising global sea levels. A wildfire has been burning in western Greenland for more than a month, illustrating the unusually dry and warm conditions there.

The polar lightning was so rare that it prompted the Weather Service to issue a public information statement late Saturday, which said in part: “A number of lightning strikes were recorded between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. today within 300 miles of the North Pole.” According to the statement, the strikes hit the surface, which was probably made up of sea ice or areas of open ocean waters mixed with ice, near 85 degrees North, 120 degrees East. “This is about 700 miles north of the Lena River Delta in Siberia.”
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Re: Lightning strikes 300 miles from North pole

Postby toucana on August 14th, 2019, 5:12 am 

The lightning was detected by Vaisala’s GLD360 network, which uses a worldwide distribution of GPS-synchronized radio receivers that pick up on the powerful radio bursts lightning discharges unleash. Individual sensors can detect such radio bursts 6,000 miles away from their sources, which allows the network to spot lightning anywhere on Earth, including the remotest Arctic.

Ryan Said, a research scientist with Vaisala and the inventor of the GLD360 system, explained that lightning had been reported within 300 nautical miles of the North Pole before. Between 2012 and 2017, there was no more than one single day each summer where lightning was seen within this range, and sometimes none was detected. In those years, the most discharges recorded in that area in a single day was six.

This weekend’s storm was unusual due to the high number of lightning discharges detected in a short span of time. There were 48 individual discharges within 300 nautical miles of the pole, with more than 1,000 detected within 600 nautical miles of the pole.
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