Monday, February 19, 2018

Lightning Strikes May Become Less Frequent With Increasing Global Temperatures

Article Written By: Kyle Tam


 A team of researchers from Lancaster University and the University of Edinburgh and Leeds, UK, have released a new study which predicts that there will be a 15% decrease in the average number of lightning flashes worldwide by the end of the century, if current global climate models stay true.
 Unlike traditional calculations of lightning flashes on the global scale, which are dependent on the height of clouds, the researchers used a novel approach that focused on the movement of tiny ice particles that form and move within clouds. Within these ice particles, electrical charges build up, as well as within cold water droplets and soft hail. These are usually discharged during storms, giving rise to thunder and lightning.
 “A drop in the incidence of lightning strikes could impact on the frequency of wildfires, especially in tropical regions,” the authors wrote. “It could also lower the incidence of lightning strikes to infrastructure and affect how greenhouse gases in the atmosphere contribute to climate change.”
 “The results provide new insight into the likely impacts of lightning on future atmospheric composition and climate,” added co-author Professor Oliver Wild, of Lancaster University.

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