[2] It occurs over and around Lake Maracaibo, typically over a bog area formed where the Catatumbo River flows into the lake. CMC-GEO-DDI-02-2011. Universidad del Zulia. Average Weather in Maracaibo Venezuela. The exact reason why this phenomenon occurs, or the model of the Catatumbo "perfect storm" have not necessarily been uncovered yet, so we caution you to take the following information with a grain of salt. Universidad del Zulia. In Venezuela, at the mouth of the Catatumbo River where it meets the Lake Maracaibo, a unique and impressive natural phenomenon, variously known as the "Catatumbo lightning", the "Beacon of Maracaibo" or the “Everlasting Storm”, captures the eyes and attention of all observers there to witness it. Find the most current and reliable 7 day weather forecasts, storm alerts, reports and information for [city] with The Weather Network. "Catatumbo lightning" refers to continuous (high frequency) lightning from a near-daily thunderstorm complex that forms in the Lago de Maracaibo/Catatumbo River region in northern Venezuela, South America. The collision of temperatures is the essential recipe for a thunderstorm. Our next post is on Catatumbo lightning to add to our series on peculiar weather phenomenon. In 1991 he suggested that the phenomenon occurred due to cold and warm air currents meeting around the area. Sometimes referred to as Venezuela’s “eternal thunderstorm,” the Catatumbo Lightning … [10], Catatumbo lightning usually develops between .mw-parser-output .geo-default,.mw-parser-output .geo-dms,.mw-parser-output .geo-dec{display:inline}.mw-parser-output .geo-nondefault,.mw-parser-output .geo-multi-punct{display:none}.mw-parser-output .longitude,.mw-parser-output .latitude{white-space:nowrap}8°30′N 71°0′W / 8.500°N 71.000°W / 8.500; -71.000 (Approximate outer limit) and 9°45′N 73°0′W / 9.750°N 73.000°W / 9.750; -73.000 (Approximate outer limit). In northwest Venezuela, at the place where Lake Maracaibo meets the Catatumbo River, lightning occurs, on average, twenty-eight times per minute for up to nine hours each day after dusk, for around 300 days a year, accompanied by a storm. "[8], The phenomenon is depicted on the flag and coat of arms of the state of Zulia which also contains Lake Maracaibo, and is mentioned in the state's anthem. The temperature can be hotter than the surface of the Sun! [14][15], A team from the Universidad del Zulia has investigated the impact of different atmospheric variables on Catatumbo lightning's daily, seasonal and year-to-year variability, finding relationships with the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone, El Niño–Southern Oscillation, the Caribbean Low-Level Jet, and the local winds and convective available potential energy. The index seems to capture well the compound effect of multiple climate drivers. Conf. A lot of tourists are attracted to the Beacon of Maracaibo since, in many countries, thunderstorms and lighting are exceedingly rare. : temperatures, precipitation, sunshine, Clouds, Maracaibo Venezuela “It struck me like a bolt of lightning!” This phrase and others like it refer to the sudden, unpredictable and powerful force that is a lightning bolt, a somewhat rare and awe-inspiring site. "Phenomena – A science salon hosted by National Geographic Magazine", http://cmc.org.ve/portal/archivo.php?archivo=241, "Where are the lightning hotspots on Earth? Weather; The most electric place on Earth. A bove the wetlands of the south-western part of Lake Maracaibo there can be observed an unforgettable sight – powerful and nearly continuous thunderstorm with up to 20,000 flashes of lightning per night. The heating and weather patterns are unstable and changeable at that time—just before the onset of the monsoon, which brings plenty of rain but much less lightning. It occurs over the mouth of the Catatumbo River where it empties into Lake Maracaibo in Venuzuela, South America. [clarification needed][20][21][14], A 2016 study showed that it is possible to forecast lightning in the Lake Maracaibo basin up to a few months in advance, based in the variability of the Lake Maracaibo Low-Level Jet and its interactions with predictable climate modes like the ENSO and the Caribbean Low-Level Jet. Catatumbo Lightning (Weather-Phenomena) A very fierce windstorm mixed with thunderstorm which can be observed over and around Lake Maracaibo. The Catatumbo Lightning is the most reliable - and frequent - lightning show on earth, occurring about 300 days out of the year. Brazil. Prospects for the weekend at Maracaibo. [13] The methane model is based on symmetry properties of the methane. The only apparent unique characteristic of this phemonemon is that the storms form and persist in the same place night after night. The phenomenon has been known for centuries as the "Lighthouse of Maracaibo", since it is visible for miles around Lake Maracaibo. An atmospheric event that occurs where the Catatumbo River enters the Lake Maracaibo became known as Catatumbo lightning. Catatumbo lightning, as the phenomenon is called, is as spectacular as it sounds, appearing 5 days out of 6, for hours, with up to nearly 30 lightning strikes per minute! Muñoz, Á.G., Díaz-Lobatón, J., 2011: "The Catatumbo Lightnings: A review", Memoirs of the XIV International Conference on Atmospheric Electricity. At this exact place, where the river enters South America's biggest lake, the lightning storm lights up the sky without stopping for nearly 10 hours per night, totaling 260 nights in just one year. [3], The lightning changes its frequency throughout the year, and it is different from year to year. XIV Int. 10-day weather forecasts for cities around the world. The study also speculated that an isolated cause for the lightning might be the presence of uranium in the bedrock. Reporte público [9], Some authors have misinterpreted a reference to a glow in the night sky in Lope de Vega's description in his epic La Dragontea of the attack against San Juan de Puerto Rico by Sir Francis Drake as an early literary allusion to the lightning (since in another verse the poet does mention Maracaibo), but it was actually a reference to the glow produced by burning ships during the battle. The heat and moisture collected across the plains create electrical charges and, as the air masses are destabilized by the mountain ridges, result in thunderstorm activity. Muñoz, Á.G., Díaz-Lobatón, J., 2012: Los Relámpagos del Catatumbo y el Flujo Energético Medio en la Cuenca del Lago de Maracaibo. [4] The phenomenon is characterized by almost continuous lightning, mostly within the clouds. Each year, over 1.2 million bolts of lightning are confined to the mouth of the Catatumbo River - the single highest concentration of lightning in the world. Check the current conditions for Maracaibo, Zulia, Venezuela for the day ahead, with radar, hourly, and up to the minute forecasts. The temperature can be hotter than the surface of the Sun! ", World's first seasonal lightning forecast, Storm Chaser George Kourounis Investigates the Catatumbo Lightning Phenomenon, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Catatumbo_lightning&oldid=1000685728, CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown, Articles containing Spanish-language text, Articles with unsourced statements from November 2020, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from August 2020, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 16 January 2021, at 06:20. Massive thunderstorms occur on 140-160 nights per year with an average of 28 lightning strikes per minute lasting up to 10 hours at a time. Catatumbo lightning (Spanish: Relámpago del Catatumbo)[1] is an atmospheric phenomenon which occurs over the mouth of the Catatumbo River where it empties into Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela. A lightning bolt fractures the night sky. These air masses meet the high mountain ridges of the Andes, the Perijá Mountains (3,750 m), and Mérida's Cordillera, enclosing the plain from three sides. At no other place on our planet, so much lightning concentrates in one spot, and so regularly. Lake Maracaibo tops out at an astonishing 233 lightning flashes per square kilometer per year , making it the absolute lightning … Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 75°F to 93°F and is rarely below 72°F or above 97°F.. Based on the beach/pool score, the best time of year to visit Maracaibo for hot-weather activities is from late December to early March. [12], Between 1997 and 2000, a series of four studies proposed that the methane produced by the swamps and the mass oil deposits in the area was a major cause of the phenomenon. 4. 5. The phenomenon gained a poetic name "Beacon of Maracaibo" for its significance for navigation, and the river is known as a "river of fire.". Be prepared for the day. Methane is a great conductor of electricity. However, locals warn the unsuspecting tourists that the area is still under some unrest and militant groups from time to time, so you need to be cautious and have an experienced guide with you to enjoy this spectacular natural wonder safely. If you are looking for the most electrified place on Earth, look no further than the Lake Maracaibo region located in northwest Venezuela. 12 p. En. Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) is a satellite project of NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. But some scientists suggest that another factor is increasing it: methane. Reporte Público CMC-01-2015. The Spectacular Lake Maracaibo. Almost 300 nights a year, a lightning storm rages in a small part of Venezuela. This is the famous Catatumbo Lightning. Wings of phosphorescent pink unfold to illuminate Lake Maracaibo, a brackish bay that opens north to the Caribbean Sea. 20 p. Albrecht, R., et al., 2011. As the one place on Earth that has the most lightning, Maracabio Lake in Venezuela, is the topic for this weather wise segment. Humidity has been thought to have played a role, as the longest recorded pause of lightning activity, in 2010, coincided with a severe drought in Venezuela caused by an El Niño weather event. It originates from a mass of storm clouds at a height of more than 1 km, and occurs during 140 to 160 nights a year, 10 hours per day and up to 280 times per hour. [22], Coordinates: 9°20′39″N 71°42′38″W / 9.34417°N 71.71056°W / 9.34417; -71.71056 (Approximate center), CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (. It is the phenomenon of continuous lightning for over 9 hours a day, 300 days a year over lake Maracaibo in Venezuela where it meets river Catatumbo. The presence of methane seems to be especially highlighted in the lagoons right under the epicenter of the Catatumbo storm. Description. The 13 years of TRMM Lightning Imaging Sensor: from individual flash characteristics to decadal tendencies. The light from the thunder is used as an alternative to a lighthouse by local ships. Muñoz, Á.G., Núñez, A., Chourio, X., Díaz-Lobatón, J., Márquez, R., Moretto, P., Juárez, M., Casanova, V., Quintero, A., Zurita, D., Colmenares, V., Vargas, L., Salcedo, M.L., Padrón, R., Contreras, L., Parra, H., Vaughan, C., Smith, D., 2015: Reporte Final de la Expedición Catatumbo: Abril 2015. On average, 140 to 160 nights per year see massive thunderstorm complexes move through that produce around 28 lightning strikes per minute, for several hours at a time. It's so silent that the thunder from it cannot be heard. Atmos. The climate in Maracaibo is hot, oppressive, and overcast. Catatumbo lightning (Spanish: Relámpago del Catatumbo) is an atmospheric phenomenon which occurs over the mouth of the Catatumbo River where it empties into Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela.It originates from a mass of storm clouds at a height of more than 1 km, and occurs during 140 to 160 nights a year, 10 hours per day and up to 280 times per hour. Surrounded by mountains in three directions, and open to the warm & unstable air that sits above the Caribbean Sea, Venezuela's Lake Maracaibo is the "Lightning Capital Of The World". [citation needed] He concluded that the lightning has several epicenters in the marshes of Juan Manuel de Aguas National Park, Claras Aguas Negras, and west Lake Maracaibo. With some delay, we can hear the thunder: a shock wave of sound created when the heat of the lightning compresses the surrounding air. Also sometimes referred to as Venezuela's "eternal thunderstorm," the Catatumbo Lightning doesn't actually fire nonstop, but for at least a few centuries, it has occurred around 150 times per year. And if there is oil, one can certainly also find methane. km every single year. Here lightning flashes over 20,000 times a night for 10 hours straight during about 160 days out of the year. All maps, graphics, flags, photos and original descriptions © 2021 worldatlas.com, The Beacon of Maracaibo: The Home Of The Lightning Storms, Places In The World Where Lightning Strikes The Most, The Five Most Lightning Prone States In The United States, Worst Storms of All Time - The Ground Blizzard of 1977, The Causes And Effects Of Ocean Pollution. That's as many as 40,000 lightning strikes in one night! Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela is the place on Earth that receives the most lightning strikes. As the static electricity discharges, it produces the strikes of lightning. Helicopters cause lightning Do you like storms? There are 250 lightning strikes per sq. [4][5][6], Prussian naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt described the lightning in 1826. The study also showed that the forecast accuracy is significantly higher when an index based on a combination of winds and convective available potential energy is used. You will only be able to see this event in Venezuela where the Catatumbo River empties into Lake Maracaibo. For almost two decades, the satellite in the orbit of Earth has been collecting data on meteorological phenomena. What is the Catatumbo Lightning? Sometimes it lasts as long as 10 hours per day, with as many as 300 lightning … [16][17][18][19] Using satellite data, two groups of researchers have provided analyses of the lightning's location, timing and number of discharges per square kilometer. Centro de Modelado Científico. Forecast to 10 days ahead for Maracaibo. Its Lightning Image Sensor has been tracking and recording flashes of light to produce the map of the lightning "top spots.". Lake Maracaibo is surrounded by mountains on three sides, which traps warm and moist air flowing in from the equator and condenses it into clouds with enormous electrical energy. By Antonia Čirjak on January 13 2020 in Environment, Venezuela's Lake Maracaibo sits at its rightful top position as the location with the highest concentration of lightning. This storm has 1 million lightning strikes a year. If you do, there is a perfect place for you. For example, it ceased from January to March 2010, apparently due to drought, leading to speculation that it might have been extinguished permanently. The storms are thought to be the result of winds blowing across Lake Maracaibo and the surrounding swampy plains. Venezuela’s Lake Maracaibo earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for ‘highest concentration of lightning’ with 250 lightning flashes per square kilometre each year. The phenomenon is known variously as the Beacon of Maracaibo, Catatumbo lightning or – cue dramatic roll of thunder - the “everlasting storm”. The storms are the most spectacular at the peak of the wet season around October and take a break mainly in the dryer months of January and February. A lot of the notable lightning spots are tied to the terrain features: slopes of mountain ranges, curved coastlines. And indeed, the Catatumbo region is surrounded by a wall of Andes in the shape of a letter V. The current hypothesis is that the mountains capture the enormous quantities of water evaporating off the lake each day under the equatorial sun and the warm trade winds blowing in off the Caribbean. This place is just above a swampy patch of Northwestern Venezuela, where the river Catatumbo meets with lake Maracaibo.Catatumbo lightning appears almost every night with average 28 lightning strikes per minute and up to 10 hours at a time. For now, this record-breaking lightning show is attributed to a lucky combination of wind patterns, local weather, and topography. See the links below the 12-day Maracaibo weather forecast table for other cities and towns nearby along with weather conditions for local outdoor activities. Centro de Modelado Científico (CMC). More than 15,000 miles of gas and oil pipelines run across the lake floor. [clarification needed] Other studies have indicated that this model is contradicted by the observed behaviour of the lightning, as it would predict that there would be more lightning in the dry season (January–February), and less in the wet season (April–May and September–October). Live weather reports from Maracaibo weather stations and weather warnings that include risk of thunder, high UV index and forecast gales. On a good night, shortly after dusk, the lightning strikes Lake Maracaibo or jumps in between the clouds up to twenty-eight times a minute. At the junction of Catatumbo River and Lake Maracaibo, a Venezuelan bay at the tip of the South American continent, there is an average of 233 flashes of lightning per square kilometre per year. That combination of the topographical and atmospheric features alone would make it the location into a "cooking pot for thunderstorms.". ¿Relámpagos del Catatumbo regeneran la capa de ozono? The lightning is caused by closed wind circulation. "Fogonazos: Catatumbo, the everlasting storm", "Drought extinguishes Venezuela's lightning phenomenon", "Venezuela's Mysterious Catatumbo Lightning Phenomenon Vanishes for Months, Then Reappears", Viage a las Regiones Equinocciales del Nuevo Continente, Dislates y Disparates sobre el Relámpago del Catatumbo: La expedición de Drake, de 1595. Maracaibo basin is on top of one of South America's largest oil fields. Elec., Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The lightning produces a great quantity of ozone though its instability makes it unlikely that it has any effect on the ozonosphere. Known as Relampo del Catatumbo , the storm is located where the Catatumbo River flows into Lake Maracaibo. The warmer masses lower into the Maracaibo basin, colliding with the cold air of the Andes. Check the weather radar, satellite, wind, temperature, weather data for Maracaibo. Italian geographer Agustin Codazzi described it in 1841 as "like a continuous lightning, and its position such that, located almost on the meridian of the mouth of the lake, it directs the navigators as a lighthouse. [11], Between 1966 and 1970, Russian researcher Andrei Zavrotsky investigated the area three times, with assistance from the University of the Andes. In contrast, locations in Central Africa and Northwestern South America have large amounts of lightning throughout the entire year. As the static electricity discharges, it produces the strikes of lightning. With some delay, we can hear the thunder: a shock wave of sound created when the heat of the lightning compresses the surrounding air. More than 1,000,000 lightning strikes occur above the lake's waters … The storms ease off in the dryer months of January and February and are most spectacular at … [7] Lake 's waters … What is the place on our planet, so much lightning concentrates in one spot and... 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