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Home >> Sci-Edu
UPDATED: 10:53, July 03, 2007
Technology used to fight thunder
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Meteorologists are developing enhanced storm-prediction technology to help minimize damage caused by lightning strikes.

According to the municipal meteorological administration bureau, July in Shanghai is the prime season for thunderstorms.

Director Wang Jianchu of Shanghai anti-thunderstorm center under the local meteorological administration, said lightning was a major hazard to public and private infrastructure. Intense electrical storms can cause major damage to complex circuitry in computers and other equipment.

Thunderstorms strike Shanghai an average of 50 days a year, according to weather data from the last 30 years.

"Skyscrapers, computers, power grids, home appliances and some other electronic intelligence systems easily fall victim thunder strikes," Wang said.

Economic losses annually have been estimated to be as much as 200 million yuan ($28.6 million).

Wang said that figure had increased over recent years because more "integrated circuitry" was being used in common household appliances and other electronic systems sensitive to thunder strikes.

"Therefore, we have to set up a sensitive anti-thunderstorm network to alert local residents much earlier," he said.

Equipment using "lightning positioning technology" and "atmosphere electric-field detection" would help Shanghai Anti-Thunderstorm Center somewhat predict where and when a thunderstorm may hit.

Data will be collected in advance from observation spots in different parts of the city including Chongming District, Nanhui District and the border between Shanghai and Zhejiang Province, he said.

"By collecting data from spots in different directions and with the new technology we can make out a fairly detailed picture of the thunderstorm's intended path."

Xu Jiye, the division chief of the meteorological administrative bureau, revealed that they had been in discussions with major insurers about new products to provide compensation for those affected by the thunderstorms.

Source: China Daily

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