Page:EB1911 - Volume 02.djvu/917

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869
ATMOSPHERIC ELECTRICITY
Mossman (65); for Paris (1873-1893) to Renou (66); for the Netherlands (1882-1900) to A. J. Monné (69); for France(71) (1886-1899) to Frou and Hann; for Switzerland to K. Hess (72); for Hungary (67) (1896-1903) to L. von Szalay and others; for the United States (1890-1900) to A. J. Henry (68); for Hong-Kong (73) (1894-1903) to W. Doberck. The Trevandrum (74) data (1853-1864) were due originally to A. Broun; the Batavia data (1867-1895) are from the Batavia Observations, vol. xviii.
Most stations in the northern hemisphere have a conspicuous maximum at midsummer with little thunder in winter. Trevandrum (8° 31′ N.) and Batavia (6° 11′ S.), especially the former, show a double maximum and minimum.


Table XII.—Diurnal Variation of Thunderstorms.

Hour.  0-2.   2-4.   4-6.   6-8.   8-10.   10-12.   0′-2′.   2′-4′.   4′-6′.   6′-8′.   8′-10′.   10′-12′. 
Finland (76)
Edinburgh (64)
Belgium (77)
Brocken (78)
Switzerland (72)
Italy (77)
Hungary (i.) (67)
Hungary (ii.) (67)
Hungary (iii.) (75)
Hungary (iv.) (75)
Trevandrum (74)
Agustia (74)
2.3
1.7
3.0
1.6
3.1
1.3
2.1
6.9
2.3
2.6
5.6
2.9
2.0
2.0
2.9
2.5
2.3
1.6
1.9
4.2
1.9
2.2
4.9
2.9
2.2
1.4
1.7
1.3
2.1
1.4
1.9
2.3
2.0
1.9
4.3
0.3
3.0
1.7
1.8
1.3
1.6
2.0
2.1
2.0
2.4
1.9
1.3
0.0
4.6
4.7
2.0
4.2
2.0
3.0
2.9
2.0
2.7
3.6
1.4
1.7
12.1
14.2
6.4
3.1
7.3
8.5
11.5
5.0
7.9
13.3
2.0
2.9
18.9
22.4
12.9
12.1
13.8
19.5
18.1
9.9
16.1
19.9
13.3
15.1
19.2
23.7
21.6
28.6
20.9
26.5
22.0
16.9
22.1
20.7
24.5
36.1
16.1
11.9
19.4
22.4
20.8
16.6
17.9
18.2
19.1
15.2
15.9
22.2
10.1
9.2
15.8
10.1
14.6
9.8
10.7
10.7
12.7
9.2
13.3
9.3
6.1
5.1
8.4
7.2
8.0
8.3
6.2
11.7
7.6
6.2
7.6
4.6
3.4
2.0
4.1
5.6
3.5
1.5
2.8
10.0
3.2
3.3
5.9
2.0


32. Daily Variation.—The figures in Table XII. are again percentages. They are mostly based on data as to the hour of commencement of thunderstorms. Data as to the hour when storms are most severe would throw the maximum later in the day. This is illustrated by the first two sets of figures for Hungary (67). The first set relate as usual to the hour of commencement, the second to the hours of occurrence of lightning causing fires. Of the two other sets of figures for Hungary (75), (iii.) relates to the central plain, (iv.) to the mountainous regions to north and south of this. The hour of maximum is earlier for the mountains, thunder being more frequent there than in the plains between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., but less frequent between 2 and 10 p.m. Trevandrum (8° 31′ N., 76° 59′ E., 195 ft. above sea-level) and Agustia (8° 37′ N., 77° 20′ E., 6200 ft. above sea-level) afford a contrast between low ground and high ground in India. In this instance there seems little difference in the hour of maximum, the distinguishing feature being the great concentration of thunderstorm occurrence at Agustia between noon and 6 p.m.


Table XIII.

 Year.   Nether-
lands. 
 France.   Hungary.   U.S.A.   Year.   Nether-
lands. 
 France.   Hungary.   U.S.A. 
1882
1883
1884
1885
1886
1887
1888
1889
1890
1891
1892
98
117
95
93
102
78
94
126
93
98
86
..
..
..
..
251
292
286
294
299
317
324
141
195
229
192
319
236
232
258
265
302
350
..
..
..
..
..
..
..
..
..
204
251
1893
1894
1895
1896
1897
1898
1899
1900
1901
1902
1903
102
111
119
109
119
95
112
108
..
..
..
288
300
309
266
297
299
299
..
..
..
..
233
333
280
299
350
386
368
401
502
322
256
209
336
426
341
362
367
563
713
..
..
..


33. Table XIII. gives some data as to the variability of thunder from year to year. The figures for the Netherlands (69) and France (71) are the number of days when thunder occurred somewhere in the country. Its larger area and more varied climate give a much larger number of days of thunder to France. Notwithstanding the proximity of the two countries, there is not much parallelism between the data. The figures for Hungary (67) give the number of lightning strokes causing fire; those for the United States (68) give the number of persons killed by lightning. The conspicuous maximum in 1901 and great drop in 1902 in Hungary are also shown by the statistics as to the number of days of thunder. This number at the average station of the country fell from 38.4 in 1901 to 23.1 in 1902. On the whole, however, the number of destructive lightning strokes and of days of thunder do not show a close parallelism.


Table XIV.

 Decade ending   1810.   1820.   1830.   1840.   1850.   1860.   1870.   1880.   1890.   1900. 
Edinburgh
London
Tilsit
Germany, South
  ”    West
  ”    North
  ”    East
  ”    Whole
4.9
9.5
..
..
..
..
..
..
5.7
8.3
..
..
..
..
..
..
7.7
11.5
12.1
..
..
..
..
..
6.7
11.8
12.1
..
..
..
..
..
5.7
10.5
16.1
..
..
..
..
..
6.5
11.9
15.3
49
92
124
102
90
5.4
9.6
11.9
66
106
135
143
116
10.6
15.7
17.6
91
187
245
186
189
9.4
13.0
21.8
143
244
288
210
254
9.2
..
..
175
331
352
273
318


34. Table XIV. deals with the variation of thunder over longer periods. The data for Edinburgh (64) and London (65) due to Mossman, and those for Tilsit, due to C. Kassner (79), represent the average number of days of thunder per annum. The data for Germany, due to O. Steffens (80), represent the average number of houses struck by lightning in a year per million houses; in the first decade only seven years (1854-1860) are really included. Mossman thinks that the apparent increase at Edinburgh and London in the later decades is to some extent at least real. The two sets of figures show some corroborative features, notably the low frequency from 1860 to 1870. The figures for Germany—representing four out of six divisions of that country—are remarkable. In Germany as a whole, out of a million houses the number struck per annum was three and a half times as great in the decade 1890 to 1900 as between 1854 and 1860. Von Bezold (81) in an earlier memoir presented data analogous to Steffens’, seemingly accepting them as representing a true increase in thunderstorm destructiveness. Doubts have, however, been expressed by others—e.g. A. Gockel, Das Gewitter, p. 106—as to the real significance of the figures. Changes in the height or construction of buildings, and a greater readiness to make claims on insurance offices, may be contributory causes.
35. The fact that a considerable number of people sheltering under trees are killed by lightning is generally accepted as a convincing proof of the unwisdom of the proceeding. When there is an option between a tree and an adjacent house, the latter is doubtless the safer choice. But when the option is between sheltering under a tree and remaining in the open it is not so clear. In Hungary (67), during the three years 1901 to 1903, 15% of the total deaths by lightning occurred under trees, as against 57% wholly in the open. In the United States (68) in 1900, only 10% of the deaths where the precise conditions were ascertained occurred under trees, as against 52% in the open. If then the risk under trees exceeds that in the open in Hungary and the United States, at least five or six times as many people must remain in the open as seek shelter under trees. An isolated tree occupying an exposed position is, it should be remembered, much more likely to be struck than the average tree in the midst of a wood. A good deal also depends on the species of tree. A good many years’ data for Lippe (82) in Germany make the liability to lightning stroke as follows—the number of each species being supposed the same:—Oak 57, Fir 39, Pine 5, Beech 1. In Styria, according to K. Prohaska (83), the species most liable to be struck are oaks, poplars and pear trees; beech trees again are exceptionally safe. It should, however, be borne in mind that the apparent differences between different species may be partly a question of height, exposure or proximity to water. A good deal may also depend on the soil. According to Hellmann, as quoted by Henry (82), the liability to lightning stroke in Germany may be put at chalk 1, clay 7, sand 9, loam 22.