José Manuel NievesSEGUIRMadrid Updated: Save Send news by mail electrónicoTu name *

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A committee of experts of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) just certify two downloads extreme rays that have pulverized the previous records of duration and distance of these electrical phenomena.

The first, announced on 25th of June, was a bolt of lightning that lit up the sky of Argentina on march 4, 2019 and that lasted exactly 16,73 seconds , more than double the previous record. The second, of October 31, 2018, are extended in a horizontal or more or less that length of 709 km , from the Atlantic Ocean, through Brazil and into Argentina. It is almost the same distance that exists between Madrid and Ceuta.

The two previous records of duration and extension had been measured by terrestrial networks of antennas and GPS receivers. It was a bolt of lightning that was observed in 2007 in Oklahoma, and that stretched more than 321 km in the horizontal; and a flamestrike, 2012 in France that lasted almost eight seconds.

The new “mega-rays”, by contrast, were verified using satellite images, as the missions GOES-16 GOES-17. The use of these data allow to detect extreme rays that were previously out of the limits of the detectors on earth. The new records will be officially recorded in the archives climate of the WMO, and will be published in an upcoming issue of Geophysical Research Letters.

“It’s about records extraordinary events of lightning individual – explains Randall Cerveby, chief rapporteur of weather and Climate Extreme, WMO-. The environmental extremes are live testimonies of what Nature is capable of, as well as the scientific progress that allows to make such detections”.

Cases even greater

According to the WMO, it is possible that there may be extreme cases even higher, and that we are able to observe as the technology of measurement of-rays continue to improve. “That will give us -he continues Cerveby – valuable information for establishing limits to the scale of the ray, including the mega-rays, for questions not only scientific but also engineering and safety”.

Normally, in effect, it is very easy to calculate at what distance it has fallen a ray. As the sound travels at a known speed (340 meters per second) it will suffice to count the seconds between the flash (that usually lasts for an instant), and the thunder, and multiply then by 340 in order to know how far we are from danger. For example, if we have 10 seconds after the “flash”, we know that the beam has fallen to 3,400 metres away.

But what happens if the beam lasts, as in this case, more than 16 seconds? How or if its length is more than 700 km? Are the extreme cases, of agreement, but we had better keep in mind that these things can happen to that, in case of being in the middle of an electrical storm, we can take precautions.