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Earth Canada Science

Researchers Claim They Can Predict Where Lightning Is Likely To Strike (www.cbc.ca) 37

Long-time Slashdot reader conner_bw shared an article from the CBC: A study by researchers at the University of Calgary's Schulich School of Engineering suggests it's possible to predict where lightning will strike and how often.They say satellite data and artificial intelligence can help foresee where lightning poses a greater risk to spark wildfires... "Those events don't just randomly happen," said Dr. Xin Wang, one of three researchers involved in the study. "They also have spatial and temporal patterns."
One of the paper's authors says their analysis can predict areas with a high chance of wildfires with an accuracy greater than 90%.
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Researchers Claim They Can Predict Where Lightning Is Likely To Strike

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  • When God looks down and sees that the men with the little dimply white balls are still out in the open playing that stupid game, He sends more strikes. But they keep doing it, day after day.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 )

      When God looks down and sees that the men with the little dimply white balls are still out in the open playing that stupid game, He sends more strikes. But they keep doing it, day after day.

      Too bad the Secret Service won't let people play golf in the rain.

      95 days and counting... [trumpgolfcount.com]

      • AFAIK that only counts the days actively golfing. Not the number of days Trump spends on a golf course (for example, in the clubhouse.) Also note, the white house is saying that Trump goes to a golf course without confirming he actually played golf there. I don't know if those count either.

        • AFAIK that only counts the days actively golfing. Not the number of days Trump spends on a golf course ...

          Yup. But ~100 times of just actual Golf in one year still pretty telling for a guy who lambasted Obama for playing golf -- reportedly about 330 times over eight years -- and also said, "“I'll be too busy to play golf ..."

    • Har Har Har Har!
      Lucky, that god is bad in aiming :)

  • I can do that too. In Paris on the Champs de Mars I predicted dozens of times that it would hit the Eiffel Tower and I was always right.

    • If you put an iPhone 8 on the Eiffel Tower, will it charge wirelessly?

    • by mikael ( 484 )

      It works with mountains as well. Used to worked in a city surrounded by mountains and high hills. Any time there were thunderstorms, lightning flashes seem to take a particular liking to one mountain peak. Maybe it was more metallic and/or simply had sharper terrain.

      I'd guess that you could combine geological data (for metallic nature) with radar data (to get fractal spikiness and height), then determine if there was any correlation.

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Saturday March 17, 2018 @12:33PM (#56275427)

    NOV 12 1955 10:04 pm

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We train AIs with spurious correlations and trust their verdict. The future is going to be governed by superstitious computers.

  • My uncle Richard Fernsler came up with a method, late 1970s I recall, for identifying where lightning will strike, which helped launch his career as an exotic weapon developer for the Navy. His publications only hint at what actually gets built (functioning yet buggy unpredictable prototypes).
    https://journals.ametsoc.org/d... [ametsoc.org]

  • In the 1970's there was such a device put in use and it worked. perhaps this new device works better or something but the older one did save lives. The device was used in places like power plants where steel is 99% of a tall structure and would allow workers to take shelter before the strike occurred. I knew the electrical technician who helped create the device.
  • Seriously, if we can predict close to a spot, then should be able to attract it with a lightening rod and capture the electricity.
    • Seriously, if we can predict close to a spot, then should be able to attract it with a lightening rod and capture the electricity.

      How will a pole that makes things weigh less help us capture electricity?

      We already know how to attract lightning to a lightning rod. You can do it by ionizing a path in the atmosphere for the lightning to follow using a laser. But we don't have any way to make use of that much energy at once, yet.

      Maybe if we invent shipstones, we can harness lightning. Or build a supercapacitor the size of a small state?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Lighting rods work to a point. Power lines are a lot better. Even buried.

      Lived in Florida for many years one if not the lighting capital of the world. Telephone companies and us military test there all the time. They even get lighting to strike over and over the same spot. Rockets and thin wires help a lot. But the did find that lighting hit buried powered lines all the time. You can see it by the fused sand/glass that the lighting traveled through the ground.

      Also most playgrounds had static sensors

  • Lighting will strike the tall metal structure. It will do so during the next rainstorm.

  • by hcs_$reboot ( 1536101 ) on Sunday March 18, 2018 @12:16AM (#56278185)
    Since lightning never strikes the same place twice, through a process of elimination and thanks to a lot of statistical data one determines where lightning will not strike, thus find out where it is likely to strike next. In a few years from now, lightning will run out of places, and just stop.
  • What If: Lightning https://what-if.xkcd.com/16 [xkcd.com]

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.

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