When Hong Tonga – Hong Haapai volcano erupted in January 2022, it sent shock waves all over the world, it not only caused large scale tsunamis but also released huge amount of water vapor which warms the climate to a layer Earth’s stratosphere.
In a new report, researchers have now revealed something else. The volcanic eruption caused more than 25,500 lightning events in just five minutes. Over the course of just six hours, the volcano caused nearly 400,000 lightning events. Half of the world’s lightning was concentrated around this The volcano is at the peak of the eruption.
The “catastrophic explosion” smashed all records, according to a report from Vaisala, an environmental monitoring company that tracks lightning worldwide.
“It’s the maximum concentration of lightning we’ve ever detected,” Chris Vagaski, a Vaisala meteorologist and lightning expert, told CNN. “We’ve been detecting lightning for 40 years now, and this is really a very dangerous event.”
2022 was the year of extremes for lightning, found the annual report by Vaisala. Lightning increased in the US in 2022, with more than 198 million lightning strikes — 4 million more than observed in 2021, and 28 million more than in 2020.
The Global Lightning Location Network, another lightning monitoring network led by the University of Washington, which is not involved in the report, said Vaisala’s findings about global lightning as well as Hunga volcano are consistent with their own observations.
“We can do this because more powerful explosions generate lightning, and lightning sends detectable radio signals around the world,” said Robert Holsworth, director of the network. “The Hunga eruption was very impressive in its lightning activity.”
Researchers have used lightning as a key indicator of the climate crisis, because the phenomenon usually indicates a rise in temperatures. Lightning occurs in strong storms associated with an unstable atmosphere, which requires relatively warm and humid air, which is why it occurs mainly in tropical latitudes and elsewhere during months. summer.
But in 2022, the Visala National Lightning Detection Network detected more than 1,100 lightning strikes in Buffalo, New York, during a devastating lake-affecting blizzard that dumped more than 30 inches of snow in the city, but accumulated historic totals of more than 6 feet in Surrounding suburbs along Lake Erie.
Lake-effect snow occurs when cold air blows over warm lake water, in this case from the Great Lakes. A large temperature difference can cause severe atmospheric instability and lead to thunderstorm-like lightning even in a blizzard.
The report noted that many of these events occurred near wind turbines south of Buffalo, which Vagaski said were significant. Clouds full of ice crystals were lower on the ground than usual, piling on top of the turbine blades.