Posted by musical, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Apr 13, 2012 at 3:51 pm
One can spend a lifetime studying lightning. People would be surprised at the amount of lightning research done at Stanford and nearby corporate campuses. Yes, the weather services have accurate techniques for recording every discharge, basically like listening for the static you hear on AM radio. The exact locations can be triangulated. Such instruments are distributed around the country and around the world, sensing up to many thousand flashes per second. May be predictive of hurricane severity, tornado probability, or even large earthquakes.
Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community, on Apr 13, 2012 at 4:19 pm
Lightning, indeed weather itself, has no relationship to earthquakes. If it did, Washington DC, Minneapolis, Chicago and the 100s of U.S. cities who have terrible lightning for a good part of each year would be quaking like mad. Earthquakes are related to geologic phenomena.
Posted by musical, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Apr 13, 2012 at 4:50 pm
The mechanism is a current research topic, especially in Japan and China. Seismic strains do set up electric fields, which under favorable meteorological conditions may produce excess cloud to ground discharges. That's how strain meters and new bathroom scales work, measuring the electric field of a crystal under load. At Stanford they study how very low frequency (VLF) radio waves may change character before an earthquake, and papers were written about it after the 1989 event. Science can be really quite interesting. They should teach more of it in high school.
Posted by [azlo, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 13, 2012 at 5:34 pm
always funny to read the comments from internet scientists on global warming(?) Good laugh when meterologist Stumpf claimed rain totals this year were less than last year, guess thats why they tally yearly totals as "average rainfall totals" Guess he missed that day at meterologist school.
Posted by Wondering, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 13, 2012 at 6:20 pm
> Lightning, indeed weather itself, has no relationship to earthquakes
There is some evidence that RF electrical energy is released during, or possibly before, an earthquake. If true, then this RF energy could be detected, and triangulated, just as with the lightening strikes.
The issue on the table is not what causes lightening, but how is it detected remotely.
I looked up the detection mechanism, which is called LDAR (Lightning Detection and Ranging).