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CLIMATE CHANGE AND INCREASING LIGHTNING STRIKES

A new research from the University of California, Berkeley, published in the journal Science, has shown that warming conditions would result in 50% more lightning strikes by the end of the century.

The new study has found that lightning will strike far more frequently due to climate change. However, researchers can still not predict exactly where or when those strikes will happen.

David Romps, a researcher at the University of California has alarmingly argued that for every two lightning strikes at the beginning of the century, we will have three at the end of the century.

Researchers have proved for some time that climate change produce more lightning strikes and those fatalities, especially in developing countries, have increased in recent years.

In this context, the new study establishes a number on that rate of increase, using data from federal government scientific agencies.

Lightning strikes would increase by about 12% for every 1°C of warming, resulting in about 50% more strikes by 2100, scientists outline.

However, the scientists are unable to predict exactly where or when those strikes will occur.

For example, in the continental US, lightning strikes are especially common in the mid-west and the Tampa Bay area of Florida, so-called lightning alley.

Researchers stress that the uncertainty about where those increases will occur in the future represents one of the main problem.  In this way, it could be regions that get a lot of lightning strikes today will get even more in the future, or it could be that parts of the country that get very little lightning could get much in the future. We just don’t know at this point.

Moreover, the study provides further evidences that climate change is having strong effects on weather patterns.

Lightning strikes are also one of the main causes of wildfires, responsible in the past for some of the most devastating blazes in the south-west, experts say. To make an example, the deadliest wildfire in 20 years, which killed 19 hotshot fire-fighters near Yarnell, Arizona, was caused by a lightning strike.

This study was based on data from federal government agencies in order to establish the relation between warming temperatures, energetic storms, and increased lightning strikes, and combined the findings with 11 climate models, experts explain.

 

The gLAWcal Team

EPSEI project

Thursday, 13 November 2014

(Source: The Guardian)