Pictures of the thunderstorm
© Photo courtesy of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute

Longest thunderstorm recorded in the high-latitude Arctic

The longest thunderstorm in the history of observations in the high-latitude Arctic lasted about 55 minutes. The natural phenomenon was recorded by scientists of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute last July at Russia's largest hydrometeorological observatory, Cape Baranov Ice Base on Severnaya Zemlya.

Specialists note that thunderstorm phenomena, unusual for the high-latitude Arctic, have been recorded in the last few years.

"The first official data on a thunderstorm in this region were recorded in June 2019 on Bolshevik Island. That thunderstorm lasted 40 minutes. In 2021, scientists observed the atmospheric phenomenon twice – in late June and early July; the thunderstorms lasted 40 and 25 minutes, respectively. In 2022, the thunderstorm period was the longest in the history of observations," says the report on the institute's website.

Earth’s atmospheric phenomena have been undergoing significant transformations over the past 30 years of observations. The fact that thunderstorm clouds reached the high latitudes of the Arctic is further evidence of changes in atmospheric circulation.

The main reason for this is climate warming in the Arctic, which has led to the appearance of layered rain (nimbostratus) clouds and powerful cumulus clouds, typical of the middle and southern latitudes. It is these cloud formations that play a key role in the process of thunderstorm cloud generation, the scientists note.