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Thunderstorm data as quick as lightning
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Published August 1, 2006

SINTEF Energy Research can tell you when and where lightning has struck. And the data come straight to your pocket.

Warm, damp weather means the start of the thunderstorm season in Norway, with July and August reckoned to be the months in which lightning strikes most often. The record was set in 2003, when 170,000 flashes of lightning were recorded in Scandinavia on July 17. Seventy thousand of them were in Southern Norway.


Right to your pocket
For several years, SINTEF Energy Research has offered an Internet service known as “Lightning today” which gives the user access to a summary of lightning activity in Norway during the previous 24 hours. Lightning strikes are registered minute by minute throughout the day as points on the map. And the map is updated every ten minutes.

Now SINTEF’s scientists have gone a step further and developed a tool that can bring the past 24 hours’ lightning activity straight to your mobile telephone if you have a Smartphone, or to your PDA. Via the wireless network, dialling “LIZ-2006” can bring up a lightning map of the whole country that is updated every five minutes (“Lightning in your pocket”).


Useful registrations
Norway has a long tradition of registering lightning strikes. As early as the sixties and seventies, large numbers of “lightning counters” were in position all over the country. After a power cut caused by a thunderstorm, the lightning registration system enables power companies to take measures to restore electricity supplies to their customers.

The system can also be used to provide warnings of  approaching thunderstorms to workers on plant that is particularly liable to be struck by lightning, enabling them to stop work on electric lines and systems in good time.

The Norwegian Meteorological Institute is among the subscribers to SINTEF’s lightning service.

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