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Lightning strikes increase over Azerbaijan

27 May 2016 10:30 (UTC+04:00)
Lightning strikes increase over Azerbaijan

By Rashid Shirinov

Clouds may look very innocent, like fluffy bed in the sky, but they actually sometimes can create the wondrous effect of lightning. Although lightning is accepted as one of the most spectacular sights in nature, it remains one of the most terrible and unpredictable natural phenomena.

At any given time, there are about 2,000 thunderstorms raging across the globe and 100 lightning strikes to earth per second, affecting about six times a year its each square meter.

Lightning has long been studied by scientists around the world, who try to recreate this phenomenon in the laboratory, measure the voltage and temperature. Nevertheless, today science know not much more about the nature of lightning, than let’s say 300 years ago.

Nobody can name the real cause of lightning flashes, whilst it's known that lightning is an electric current, and feels like, for example, sparks when you take off your sweater, but on a much bigger scale. It is known that lightning is a powerful electric discharges in the atmosphere, carrying a negative charge on the land value of a few tens of pendant.

There is a version that these billions-volt discharges can occur due to the interaction of cosmic rays with water droplets in storm clouds.

PhD. in geography Maharram Hasanov, the senior researcher of the Department of Climate and Agro climatology of the Geography Institute of the ANAS claims that the number of lightning strikes has increased tenfold in Azerbaijan in recent years.

The growth of lightings has started to increase, particularly, after 2000, according to the geographer.

“The cases are mostly observed on the southern slope of the Greater Caucasus, -- in Sheki-Zagatala, Gazakh-Agstafa regions, especially on the slopes of the Zangezur ridge -- in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic,” he said.

The senior researcher also accented that today Baku experiences 4-6 lightning strikes, although this number was about 1-2 in 1960-1965. However, the number of lightning days per year in Absheron peninsula is only one.

Hasanov noted that lightning strikes get more intense mostly in May-June and September-October.

The consequences of being struck by lightning are significantly stronger than the effects of conventional electric shock. A lightning strike in most cases leads to death. The victim may lose consciousness, the heartbeat and breathing may stop, and cramps may occur. However, there are instances when people have survived multiple lightning strikes.

Ahmad Hajiyev, Deputy Director of the ANAS Physiology Institute stressed that although the institute does not conduct specific research on the effects of lightning on the human body, they study the effects of stress from excessive noise, light and electromagnetic radiation to body by means of experiments on animals.

“A lightning is similar to an electrical accident. It is clear that if a person is near a lightning strike, it can be regarded as an electric shock for his organism,” he told Trend.

Hajiyev noted that people can have different reaction on lightning strikes depending on their organic structure. He said that they could be frightened and stressed after a lightning strike, what may lead to the increase of blood adrenaline and the pressure.

Lightning usually occurs in open spaces. People inside the building are generally protected from lightning, while they can be hit by the ball lightning, which moves not on a straight path and may fly into homes. Lightning rods are applied to protect buildings from lightning strikes.

Each year many people are struck by lightning, some of which are killed and others suffer permanent neurological disabilities. Experts say that most of these tragedies can be avoided if to go to a safe place whenthunderstorms threaten.

Specialists say that lightning strikes are not something passengers need necessarily concern themselves with. Indeed, lightning hit the aircraft more often than we might think. However, it remains unnoticed by passengers and crew, as modern passenger aircraft are equipped with special means of protection against lightning strikes.

The most stormy place of the planet is the city of Bogor in Indonesia. Thunderstorms take place here almost every day, approximately 322 days a year. Another famous lightning site is the town of Tororo in Uganda with 251 stormy days.


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