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A Closer Look at the Congo and the Lightning Maximum on EarthThe global maps of maximum mean annual flash density derived from a decade of observations from the Lightning Imaging Sensor on the NASA Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite show that a 0.5 degree x 0.5 degree pixel west of Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo (latitude 2S, longitude 28E) has the most frequent lightning activity anywhere on earth with an average value in excess of 157 fl/sq km/yr. This pixel has a flash density that is much greater than even its surrounding neighbors. By contrast the maximum mean annual flash rate for North America located in central Florida is only 33 fl/sq km/yr. Previous studies have shown that monthly-seasonal-annual lightning maxima on earth occur in regions dominated by coastal (land-sea breeze interactions) or topographic influences (elevated heat sources, enhanced convergence). Using TRMM, Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper, and Shuttle Imaging Radar imagery we further examine the unique features of this region situated in the deep tropics and dominated by a complex topography having numerous mountain ridges and valleys to better understand why this pixel, unlike any other, has the most active lightning on the planet.
Document ID
Document Type
Blakeslee, R. J.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Buechler, D. E.
(Alabama Univ. Huntsville, AL, United States)
Lavreau, Johan
(Musee Royal de l'Afrique Centrale Belgium)
Goodman, Steven J.
(National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Camp Springs, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
February 4, 2008
Subject Category
Meteorology And Climatology
Meeting Information
3rd International TRMM Science Conference/NASA(Las Vegas, NV)
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