THE Sun certainly is hot but it’s no match for the intensity of a bolt of lightning.
Lightning is one of the most destructive forces in nature and one strike can kill off a tree within days.
Is lightning hotter than the sun?
Lightning is considerably hotter than the surface of the Sun.
According to the National Weather Service in the US, lightning can heat the air it passes through to as much as 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, that’s nearly 27,800 degrees Celsius.
That’s nearly five times hotter than the Sun.
Nasa has put the surface of the sun as reaching 11,000 degrees Fahrenheit, equating to just under 6,100 degrees Celsius.
The US space agency estimates there are around 2,000 thunderstorms happening around the world at any given time.
Around eight million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes happen per day worldwide.
How hot is lightning?
As shown above, lightning can reach temperatures as high as 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit (27,800 degrees Celsius).
Those temperatures make lightning one of the most destructive forces in nature.
What happens when lightning strikes a tree?
If a tree is hit and the bolt gets under the bark and into the surface moisture of the wood, the rapidly expanding steam can blast pieces of bark and branches from the tree.
The wood along the path of the lightning strike is usually killed off.
If only one side of a tree is struck by lightning there is a good chance the tree will survive but if the strike hits the tree trunk then the tree is normally killed completely.
Lightning can also travel along the roots causing severe damage eventually killing the tree even if there is little visible evidence of the tree being directly hit.
If the tree is in leaf, the leaves wilt and the tree will invariably die within a few days.
If the tree survives long enough to leaf the following spring, then the chances of recovery are much greater.
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