One of Europe’s newest satellites is already putting in work. The Meteosat-12, which is run by the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), has captured a new and stunning video of lightning crackling across the sky over Africa and Europe.
The video was captured roughly 22,000 miles above the Earth, and it showcases the flashing and flickering appearance that lightning exhibits from space. This new satellite is the first of its kind to provide this kind of lightning image to European weather forecasters, though satellites working with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have used them before.
The satellite is also the first in a new family of Europe’s Meteosat Third Generation. As climate change continues to progress, severe thunderstorms have become more prevalent, and understanding how to better forecast them has become an important goal for many meteorologists all around the world. Normally, lightning can be a strong indicator that severe weather is occurring.
In fact, most lightning happens when there is severe rainfall. Europe is reportedly warming twice as fast as any of the other continents around the world. As such, European scientists are working as hard as possible to find better ways to predict and understand the weather changes that we’re seeing. Being able to more accurately predict weather events could help save lives from flooding and other severe weather phenomena.
Lightning, the people behind the satellites say, is a great instrument for this purpose, especially when you have satellites like the Meteosat-12, which can see large parts of the globe at one time, giving them a great view of hundreds of lightning bolts at one time. The agency will continue to increase the number of satellites in orbit, watching for severe weather, over the coming months, with a new flight expected to launch one into orbit later this year.
For the time being, this stunning video is another reminder of just how important it is for us as humans to understand the world that we live in, and to take these continued climate changes to heart as we strive to stop any impending events from changing our world too dramatically.