‘Gigantic jet’ lightning was recorded dozens of miles over mainland China, it was discovered recently.
A “gigantic jet”—a massive lightning burst that occurs above a thunderstorm— was recorded over mainland China nearly three years ago, but was not detailed until this week.
The incident took place over eastern China on Aug. 12, 2010, reported the Space website, citing a Chinese research team. The gigantic jet was described as the farthest one ever recorded from the ground.
A release from the Science China Press outlining the event says that “previous studies show that gigantic jet is often observed in tropical or subtropical regions, sometimes over winter thunderstorms.” The release said the 2012 gigantic jet had a “tree-like shape.”
“This is the first report from mainland China,” lead researcher Yang Jing was quoted by Space as saying.
The researchers used Doppler radar data and weather pictures using infrared radiation. The jet made its peak around 55 miles above the ground, according to the website.
The release adds: “[A] Gigantic jet starts from the thundercloud top and propagates upwards to the ionosphere, and it has a direct influence on the ionosphere potential and the electrical environment in the near space. Studies on this kind of discharge will provide an important protection for the space environment.”
The first confirmed gigantic jet took place in 2001 around 44 miles over the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.
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More on “gigantic jet” from Duke Researchers