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As stated, studies of tropical cyclones have generally been handicapped by a lack of data. Early developments in establishing international observation networks have been slow and stations on islands in oceans are few and far between. Tropical cyclones form and exist mostly over oceans, and it is a particularly difficult task to obtain sufficient data to enable a detailed analysis to be made of their thermal and dynamic features. When a tropical cyclone moves over land, it is usually in a weakening stage, and observations even from a relatively dense land observation network may not be representative of the characteristics of an intensifying or intense steady state tropical cyclone.

23. As stated, studies of tropical cyclones have generally been handicapped by a lack of data. Early developments in establishing international observation networks have been slow and stations on islands in oceans are few and far between. Tropical cyclones form and exist mostly over oceans, and it is a particularly difficult task to obtain sufficient data to enable a detailed analysis to be made of their thermal and dynamic features. When a tropical cyclone moves over land, it is usually in a weakening stage, and observations even from a relatively dense land observation network may not be representative of the characteristics of an intensifying or intense steady state tropical cyclone.

While the probability of lightning striking in a particular area is often evaluated from statistically determined values from isokeraunic map data based on thunderstorm days, such calculations should be viewed with caution. Despite this caveat concerning the use of isokeraunic maps of thunderstorm days, they may be useful in providing a rough idea of the relative incidence of lightning in a particular region. A general rule, based on a large amount of data from around the world, estimates the earth flash mean density to be 1–2 cloud to ground flashes per 10 thunderstorm days per square kilometre.

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