Friday, June 6, 2008


Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi

The weather gods, it seems, have crushed Jharkhand. If heat stroke was not enough, then lightning has emerged as a big killer as in the state. More than 200 people were killed because of lightning strikes in 2007. One incident occurred in the school premises near Ranchi city where six children were killed due to lightning. This year the toll is already more than 20.
In last two days seven people died due to lightning in Dumka and Jamshedpur district.

While the state government is perturbed, people get mortally scared when discharged electricity. Unlike heat waves which is more severe during summer, lightning strikes have taken place at alarming regularity in almost all parts of the state.

Mainly high elevated places are prone to lightning in Jharkhand. The plateau region of Jharkhand contains high amount of Iron stone in the rocks and soils. According to the recent studies lightning has been used as a naturally occurring instrument for studying the electrical nature of the ground. There have been numerous ancient observations based on these studies, however “few modern studies exist to indicate that soils of high conductivity (e.g. marshes) are lightning-prone; that ironstone outcrops attract lightning.
In Jharkhand forest areas are more prone to lightning. Trees are frequent conductors of lightning to the ground. Since sap is a poor conductor, its electrical resistance causes it to be heated explosively into steam, which blows off the bark outside the lightning's path.

From past several years the climate of Jharkhand has changed a lot from bad to worse. Ranchi which was earlier the summer capital of the Bihar and Jharkhand state united, is now under the impact of global warming or say regional warming. One of the major cause of global warming is carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Models have been developed that predict atmospheric increases in CO2. One such model predicts that a doubling of CO2could increase the amount of lightning occurrences by 30–77% .
The number of lightning deaths in the state has almost doubled in the past several years. Add to this the hundreds who sustain injuries and the loss of cattle and property annually. And, you would know why panic sets in when people in Jharkhand see the magnificent flashes with thundering sounds on the sky.

As floods ,earthquakes, cyclone, drought, hailstorms, tsunami figure in the list of natural calamities in India, lightning should also be included in the list.
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