Imaggeo on Mondays: Zurich lit by lightning

Zurich lit by lightning by Ryan Teuling, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Zurich lit by lightning by Ryan Teuling, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

In Zurich, Switzerland, June is often the wettest month of the year. Summer thunderstorms that give clouds a purple-grey colour and bright up the skies with strong lightning bolts are common place. This picture, taken by Ryan Teuling from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, captures one of these bolts, lighting up the centre of the city.Teuling took this photo in June 2008 when he worked at the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science (CHN) in Zurich, following the Institute’s yearly barbecue.

“From the upper floor of the CHN building we had a great view of the centre of Zurich, the lake, and the active lightning. The lightning was so intense that I could take the picture by controlling the shutter by hand in response to lightning flashes, and not in automatic or repeat mode,” Teuling said. The storm front was stationary over Lake Zurich, visible in the centre of the frame, he added.

Thunderstorms occur when warm, moist air rises rapidly upwards, cools and condenses forming clouds and water droplets. These strong convective cells of air develop easily in the diverse topography of Zurich, a city located in a valley in the north tip of Lake Zurich, near the Albis chain of hills.

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Bárbara Ferreira was the Media and Communications Manager of the European Geosciences Union from 2011 to 2019. Bárbara has also worked as a science writer specialising in astrophysics and space sciences, producing articles for the European Space Agency and others on a freelance basis. She has a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Cambridge.

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