Environment

What makes Brazil the lightning capital of the world?

What makes Brazil the lightning capital of the world?
Photo: Marcos Ozanan/A Plateia, via FP

Influenced by weather phenomena such as El Niño and La Niña, the city of São Paulo has become a lightning hotspot. Data from the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) shows that the number of bolts of lightning in the Southern Hemisphere’s most-populated city jumped from 28,000 in 2018 to 44,800 last year—a 60-percent increase.

As a matter of fact, Brazil has the highest incidence of lightning in the world, with an average of 77.8 million strikes per year. Beyond this being an intriguing piece of geophysical trivia, these numbers also present serious risks for people around Brazil,...

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