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Atmospherical Science

South American megaflashes

Imagem de satélite registra raio que caiu em 31 de outubro de 2018 sobre o Rio Grande do Sul e se estendeu por 709 km

The longest lightning bolt ever recorded stretched 709 kilometers (km) across southern Brazil on October 31, 2018, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported in June. The previous record, of 321 km, was recorded in June 2007 in Oklahoma, USA. The WMO also announced the lightning strike with the longest ever duration, at 16.73 seconds, which occurred on March 4, 2019, in Argentina. The previous record holder was 7.74 seconds and took place in the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France, on August 30, 2012. The new megaflashes—the term given to extremely large lightning flashes by the WMO—were observed by Brazilian researchers from the Severe Weather Observation and Forecasting System (SOS-Chuva) and the Lightning Project, which studies the influence of the phenomenon on the chemistry and physics of the atmosphere, both of which are funded by FAPESP. This is not Brazil’s first world record when it comes to lightning. According to the Atmospheric Electricity Group at the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (ELAT-INPE), lightning strikes Brazilian ground 78 million times per year.