The United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization [WMO], reported a 700+ kilometers [435+ statute miles] long, lightning megaflash. This behemoth of energy flow occurred in Brazil on 31 October, 2018. Elsewhere, there have been other impressive bolts.
Previously, ground mapping stations were utilized to review lightning strikes. However, spatial considerations, among other factors, provided the impetus for building ‘special-task’ satellite-imaging craft; these for lightning flow assessments. Now, both distances traveled, as well as energies-released measurements, can occur over wider expanses. By utilizing both ground and space systems conjointly, precision is attained.
The ‘macro-geometric’ measuring capability should allow meteorologists, far and wide, the ability to evaluate lightning in a manner not possible just a few years ago. Satellite technology provides three-dimensional measuring capability, on a multi-nation scale, in many areas of the world.
A sailor, ‘Top Side’ on a merchant ship, [be it a ‘Bulker’, ‘Container’, L.N.G., or, Oil Tanker] may be standing at a height of 10 meters above the water line. His ‘visible horizon distance” is 11.3 kilometers [7.0 statute miles] in good weather. Ergo, he would never see that which could strike him, from far beyond the horizon, until it was far too late. Now, a ship ‘radarman’ must be aware of the aforementioned, great striking distance of lightning; and thereby alert any crewmen ‘on deck’. This new information from the WMO, may be life-savers.
One might consider what long-term economic impact this technology will have for the Insurance industry, for one. To know: the probability of such electrical events occurring; when, during the year; of what intensities and durations; over which geographic areas, will be invaluable to Insurers and Re-Insurers. With such knowledge: Actuaries can establish insurance rates; customers may find it economically advantageous to minimize property losses. They might by installing preemptively, electrical storm mitigating technologies [as have been long-required on ships]; this would certainly benefit the Insurance Industry. [There may be many smiling faces in Bermuda.] Those who wisely invest in Insurance Companies’ stocks may also be elated by increases in profits.
Reality: Understanding Mother Nature, is for wise men, a roadway to comprehending, and obtaining cost-mitigating efficiencies; this, for business and personal profits.