Climate change may be increasing the prevalence of lightning

Climate change may be increasing the prevalence of lightning

Apparently you can add getting struck by lightning to the list of dangerous that are most likely being magnified by climate change. According to The Washington Post, a new study has shown that a warmer climate could increase the prevalence of lightning strikes in the United States by about 50% in the decades to come.

The idea behind this theory is that, because a warmer sky contains more energy, it makes a lot of sense that the energy would then be violently discharged in the form of more lightning. What is surprising, however, is that it’s actually fairly easy to predict when and where lightning will strike, at least according to a study that as published in Science.

“With warming, thunderstorms become more explosive,” said David Romps, a climate scientist at UC Berkeley. “This has to do with water vapor, which is the fuel for explosive deep convection in the atmosphere. Warming causes there to be more water vapor in the atmosphere, and if you have more fuel lying around, when you get ignition, it can go big time.”

While there are plenty of people who are perfectly fine with living with the increased risk of being struck by lightning, Romps points out that lightning strikes are also responsible for more than half of all wildfires in the United States, and fires that’re caused by lightening are also much more difficult to extinguish.

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