With thousands of eyewitness reports, but few instrumental records and no consensus about a theory, ball lightning remains an unsolved problem in atmospheric physics. As chances to monitor this transient phenomenon are low, it seems promising to evaluate observation reports by scientists and trained professionals. The following work compiles 20 published case histories and adds 15 from the author's work and 6 from a Russian database. Forty-one cases from eight countries, 1868–2020, are presented in abstract form with a synthesis. The collection of cases does not claim to be complete. Six influential or notable ball lightning cases are added. It is concluded that well-documented cases from trained observers can promote fieldwork and stimulate and evaluate ball lightning theories. Scientists who have not reported their experience are invited to share it with the author.
Fields of Science and Technology Classification 2012
- 107 Other Natural Sciences
- ball lightning
- history of ball lightning observations