Lightning not a natural disaster
- July 17, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Lightning not a natural disaster
Section: Physical geography
- The Union government is not in favor of declaring lightning a natural disaster as deaths caused by it can be avoided through education and awareness.
- India is among the only five countries in the world with an early warning system for lightning and the forecast is available from five days to up to 3 hours.
- If declared a natural disaster, the victims will be entitled to compensation from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) once this is notified.
- As much as 75% of funds to SDRF are contributed by the Centre.
- A natural disaster is the highly harmful impact on a society or community following a natural hazard event.
- According to present norms, cyclone, drought, earthquake, fire, flood, tsunami, hailstorm, landslide, avalanche, cloudburst, pest attack, frost and cold waves are considered disasters that are covered under the SDRF.
- The frequency of lightning was maximum in northeast States and in West Bengal, Sikkim, Jharkhand, Odisha and Bihar but the number of deaths is higher in central Indian States of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
What is Lightning?
- It is the natural process of “an electrical discharge of very little duration and high voltage between a cloud and the ground or within a cloud,” accompanied by a bright flash, a loud sound, and occasionally thunderstorms.
- Cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning is dangerous because it can electrocute people due to its high electric voltage and current. Inter- or intra-cloud lightning is visible and safe.
- Process of Lightning:
- Lightning is caused by a difference in electrical charge between the top and bottom of a cloud, which generates a huge current of electricity.
- Water vapour in the cloud condenses and rises, generating heat and pushing water molecules further up until they become ice crystals. Collisions between the ice crystals trigger the release of electrons, leading to a chain reaction that results in a positively charged top layer and negatively charged middle layer in the cloud.
- When the difference in charge becomes large enough, a huge current of electricity flows between the layers, producing heat that causes the air column to expand and produce shock waves that create thunder sounds.
- Lightning and the Climate Change:
- In a 2015 study from California University, the university cautioned that a rise in one degree Celsius would result in a 12% increase in the frequency of lightning strikes.
- Another study that was released in Geophysical Research Letters in March 2021 found connections between climate change and an increase in lightning strikes in the Arctic.
- Lightning Strikes in India:
- According to a newly published yearly report on lightning from the Lightning Resilient India Campaign (LRIC), India may have seen up to 18.5 million lightning strikes between April 2020 and March 2021.
- Each year, lightning claims the lives of more than 2,500 Indians.
- According to a study by the Delhi-based RMSI, a global leader in geospatial and engineering solutions, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, and Jharkhand have witnessed the maximum lightning strikes in recent years.
- According to government statistics, more than 100,000 individuals have died in the nation as a result of lightning strikes between 1967 and 2019. This represents more than a third of the deaths brought on by natural disasters throughout this time.