Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Extreme Weather (Lightning) - part 2

With the phrase ‘a picture is worth 1000 words’ ringing in my ears I decided to produce a ‘concept diagram’ to explain the causes of yesterday’s extreme weather.  This blog post is for anyone interested in weather but also aimed at next year’s AS Geography students at Bethany School who will be conducting fieldwork and research into ‘Extreme Weather’ as part of their Unit 2 Geographical Investigations.

What caused yesterday’s awesome display of thunder and lightning?

Lightning bolt detector map
All these factors combined to form the ‘perfect’ storm (pun intended).  I found it interesting to watch Headcorn Weather Centre’s lightning bolt detector as it revealed that there was no lightning until 1.42pm when it suddenly started everywhere at once.  Temperatures, humidity and convection simultaneously reached a critical point when the loaded gun of pent up heat energy was released with powerful results.

Here are Headcorn Weather Centre's lightning bolt mapping (Images used with permission). The lightning storm peaked at 15:12 with 228 lightning 'events' per minute.  The daily count of events was 50,000!  The majority of these events weren't ground strikes but were 'intercloud' events.

Image taken at 16:00 on the 28th June, 48 minutes after the peak
Click here to return to page 1 of Extreme Weather (Lightning)