Your Window Into Los Alamos National Laboratory
Lightning strikes the earth more than one billion times each year, causing thousands of fatalities worldwide, and costs nearly a $1 billion in damages in the U.S. alone. When strong updrafts cause layers of positive and negative charge to develop in the atmosphere, lightning discharges occur to restore the balance of the Earth’s electrical state. Because the fundamental physical mechanisms of that discharge are not perfectly understood, lightning continues to surprise researchers despite its ordinariness. Join us as Tess Light and Tim Hamlin, both with the Lab’s Space and Remote Sensing Group, touch on research that dates back to the 1960s when it was developed in connection with space payloads that monitor the Earth for evidence of nuclear treaty violation. Learning more about lightning is an outgrowth of those sensors.
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