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More Lightning in Future From Global Warming, Study Predicts

By    |   Monday, 17 Nov 2014 06:50 AM

There will be 50 percent more lightning strikes in the future as global temperatures rise, a team of scientists from Berkeley predicted in a recent study.

"With warming, thunderstorms become more explosive," David Romps, an assistant professor at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, said in regard to the study, which was published in the latest issue of the journal Science.

According to Mother Jones, the prediction model used by the research team said that for every degree Celsius of global warming, the percentage of lightning strikes is likely to increase by 12 percent. By the end of the century, that could add up to a 50 percent increase overall.

There are roughly 25 million lightning strikes per year on average, the vast majority of which don't do any damage. And, as scary as the thought of being hit by lightning oneself, the chances will remain extremely slight — even if the scientists' prediction comes true. What humanity may have to fear from increased bolts is the possibility that they will produce a greater number of wildfires.

Depending on the distribution of any increased lightning, however, wildfires may or may not be a big concern. If a large percentage of the strikes increased in places not prone to brushfires — like Miami, for example — then it should be smooth sailing.

Of all atmospheric phenomena, lightning is still one of the least understood, and some scientists not involved with the study seem to be taking the predictions with a grain of salt.

"Overall, I think it is a good study and paper, and I personally do think total world lightning will increase with global warming, but I'm not so sure about the conclusions relating specific temperature increases to specific lightning level increases," weather service meteorologist and lightning expert John Jensenius told USA Today.

"I always look at these very long-range projections with a bit of skepticism," he added.



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There will be 50 percent more lightning strikes in the future as global temperatures rise, a team of scientists from Berkeley predicted in a recent study.
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2014-50-17
Monday, 17 Nov 2014 06:50 AM
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