NOAA' s weather service issues forecasts for thun- able at NASA Langley Research Center's Atmo- derstorms as far as seven days in advance and provides spheric Sciences Data Center, Hampton, Virginia, cap- severe weather warnings for specific locations within ture incoming and outgoing energy over the whole minutes of a storm's arrival. "All thunderstorms have planet and provide new insights into climate change. the potential to produce lightning, so it is up to all of us to heed the warnings," Gudes said. Last spring, Michael Utley, an amateur golfer who joined NOAA and Mediate at the news conference, was struck by "Dry Lightning" lightning 15 seconds after an advanced lightning de- tector alarm sounded on a golf course in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Though he has no memory of the in- People in most parts of the cident, witnesses said the lightning bolt blew Utley's country , when they think of shoes off. Paramedics twice brought him back to life lightning and thunderstorms, as- on the way to the hospital. Utley spent 38 days in in- sociate rain with the phenomena tensive care and nearly three months in physical reha- of lightning and thunder and bilitation. Utley credits his golf partner's CPR skills may not understand why it is with saving his life. "If he had not been there, I would that lightning sets so many fires have died," he said. Today Utley struggles to walk with in the western forests, where this a cane and has lost his sense of balance because of the year there is a very serious forest-fire situation, incident. with "dry lightning" largely responsible. "My story should be a wake-up call for others about So-called dry lightning, or the dry thunder- how dangerous and unpredictable lightning is," Utley storm, is due to the same causes and occurs in said. "You have to be lightning aware whenever you the same manner as any other thunderstorm, says are outdoors." C. F. Talman, in charge of the library of the Mary Ann Cooper, director of the Lightning Injury Weather Bureau. The ordinary wet thunderstorm Research Program at the University of Illinois at Chi- is due to a violent vertical convection of air that cago, said Utley's story mirrors the 90% of lightning- contains enough moisture to be condensed into strike victims who survive but live to face difficult an abundance of raindrops. Under conditions challenges. where the lower air is even moderately humid the "The most damaging consequences of a lightning rain forms at such low levels that only a part of strike are seen in the lives of the survivors," Cooper the condensed moisture evaporates as it falls to said. "Many survivors must relearn basic motor skills. earth. On the other hand, in regions where the Michael Utley is a miracle. He beat all of the odds by lower air is relatively very dry the rain forms so still being alive." Cooper also addressed a common high up that all of it, or nearly all of it, evapo- myth about lightning. "Lightning-strike victims do not rates in mid-air as it falls. All thunderstorms are die from burns, but from cardiac arrest. The victims equally wet in and just beneath the clouds. are not electrified, so it is safe to administer CPR im- When the rain all evaporates before it gets mediately." down, the thunderstorm, to the man or the for- est on the ground, is a dry one. In the present NASA' s Terra Satellite Captures a Worl d of forest-fire situation in the West this "dry light- Sunlight and Heat ning" sets the forests afire in many places, and, Summer is an annual reminder that the world is with no accompanying moisture reaching the driven by sunlight, and new 7>rra satellite measure- ground to wet the burning forest material, the ments show just how much the sun influences the fires, being so numerous and so scattered, are earth's climate system. very hard to fight.—U.S. Dept. of Agriculture The first observations, from March 2000 to May Official Record, Aug. 11, 1926. 2001, of the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) instruments aboard Terra are the most accurate global radiation or energy measure- Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 7, 102. ments ever and include the first complete year of such essential data since 1987. These CERES data, avail- Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 205 1
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society – American Meteorological Society
Published: Sep 1, 2001
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