Weather and Climate Facts and Trivia

We all know that lightning strikes have the power to set fire to homes and split trees in half. Every year, there are up to 16 million lightning storms that occur throughout the world. In this article, you will learn more about lightning, as well as interesting cloud facts.

Most Powerful Lightning Strikes

Lightning has been a mystery for many years as no one really knows what is behind the awesome phenomenon. It is thought that ice found in clouds may contribute to a bolt of lightning. The ice may play a role in dividing the positive and negative charges. Less than 5% of all lightning strikes have been positive, which means that the net transfer of the charge in the cloud to the ground is positive.

Positive lightning outlasts what is considered “normal” lightning , the negative kind. Positive lightning is associated with a stronger electrical field. Because of this, this type of lightning is responsible for producing up to a billion volts and an electrical current that has the potential to reach 300,000 amperes.

First Identical Snow Crystals

They say that no two snowflakes are ever the same. However, Nancy Knight who worked as a scientist at the National Center for Atmosphere Research in Boulder, Colorado learned different in 1988. She found two identical specimens while using a microscope to study snow crystals from a storm that took place in Wisconsin.

Hottest Place on Earth

If you can’t take the heat, then stay out of the kitchens located close to a lightning strike, For a fraction of a second, the air surrounding a lightning strike can reach a temperature up to 54,000 degrees, which is five times hotter than the visible surface of the sun.

Cloud Facts

You’ve probably heard that on a cloudy day, you can still get a sunburn, but the following facts are concerned with more intense scientific elements.

·    Cloud Cover by Humans: Yes, humans can affect the weather and cloud cover. The condensation trails in the atmosphere associated with aircraft is called contrails. While the local atmospheric conditions play a role, the cloud cover can last from a couple of seconds to hours. In busy skies, the combined effect of aircraft contrails can increase the cloud cover by up to 20%.

·    Record Vertical Range for Clouds: Cumulonimbus clouds are known for reaching the highest heights of nearly 65,600 feet in the tropics, which is nearly three time the height of Mount Everest.

·    A New Cloud Formation: In 1951, the last cloud type recognized as distinct was the cirrus intortus. No new cloud formations have been classified until 2009 when the undulates asperatus was proposed by experts. The cloud appears in the sky in such a manner that it looks like the waves of an ocean. Seeing this type of cloud is a rarity. A characteristic of this cloud is that is tends to vanish without causing a storm to erupt.