Earth System Science Center and Department of Atmospheric Science at The University of Alabama in Huntsville

Analysis of trees struck by lightning


Jeff Burchfield, right, a research assistant in UAH’s Earth System Science Center, readies straps that will hold a lightning sensor in place on a tower at a Smithsonian Institution research site on an island in the Panama Canal. Burchfield and Philip Bitzer, an assistant professor of atmospheric science, are in Panama as part of a National Science Foundation-funded study of lightning ecology. The lightning sensors provide data about the characteristics of individual lightning strokes. Working with a biologist from the University of Louisville, the team finds trees struck by lightning and analyzes how they and plants around them respond. The goal is to learn more about how the characteristics of both the tree and the lightning strike affect the tree’s response. (UAH photos)

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