A Swarm of Raging Thunderstorms, as Seen From Space : ScienceAlert | Space Video

Lightning, for all its ubiquity here on Earth, is still a relatively poorly understood weather phenomenon. We know more or less how it happens, but there’s so much about its finer intricacies that we’re still learning.

But with a new observatory orbiting our world, we have another opportunity to understand these powerful blasts of electricity – and with it, a way to better predict the emergence of severe storms that put lives and infrastructure at risk.

Pperated by the European Space Agency, this ‘Lightning Imager‘ sits aboard the Meteosat weather satellites operated by European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (Eumetsat).

We’ve just been treated to its first video releases of lightning across Europe, Africa, and the Atlantic Ocean, and it’s certainly eye-opening.

Lightning Imager consists of four cameras, covering Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and parts of South America, and can capture data at a rate of 1,000 frames per second. Each of the newly released videos is an animation that displays a series of images taken by the instrument, combining a time lapse of lightning strikes with a picture of Earth.

“Severe storms are often preceded by abrupt changes in lightning activity. By observing these changes in activity, Lightning Imager data will give weather forecasters additional confidence in their forecasts of severe storms,” says Phil Evans, director general of Eumetsat.

“When these data are used in conjunction with the high-resolution data from the Flexible Combined Imager, weather forecasters will be better able to track the development of severe storms and have a longer lead-in time to warn authorities and communities.”

Perhaps most …

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