By Pablo Colado
Operational between 1997 and 2015, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring (TRMM) mission satellite has exhaustively measured the electrical activity and rainfall that have fallen on the planet throughout its central strip, which ranges from 38 degrees Celsius. north latitude (around Murcia) to 38 degrees south latitude (near Melbourne, Australia). Above and below those imaginary lines, thunderstorms are less frequent.
And with these data, meteorologist Rachel Albrecht, from the University of Sao Paulo, and her collaborators have come to the conclusion that if you want to avoid being struck by lightning, apart from staying home, above all, never travel to the Venezuelan lake From maracaibo. There, in a given square kilometer of its surface, the TRMM satellite recorded an average of 233 electrical discharges from storms each year.
This place occupies the first place of a list of 500 "hot spots" made by the team of scientists, who have published their findings in the journalBulletin of the American Meteorology Society. The figures may seem somewhat scarce - not even a daily lightning - but in reality we must bear in mind that they only register the limited measurements of the TRMM satellite, which covers each limited area approximately ten minutes per day. In other words, the worst hit areas can receive tens of thousands of rays annually.
In terms of the general patterns detected by the mission, the electrical activity of tropical storms occurs more often on land than at sea, and more often in summer than in winter, which is confirmed by meteorological models. Experts have also found that other "hot spots" are also located in large lakes, and that Central Africa concentrates 283 of these 500 risk areas.