Tuesday, November 18, 2014

If You Like Lightning, You'll Love Global Warming

Will global warming cause more lightning?
Researchers think so.  
ZAP!!! BOOOMMMM!!!!!!!

Ah yes, the sights and sounds of a wild thunderstorm. Fun to watch from a safe place. Dangerous, too, given that lightning sets fires, kills people and cuts the power.

Get ready for a lot more lightning in the future if a new study released is true.

The study says that the amount of lightning in the United States will increase by 50 percent by the end of the century under the effects of climate change, according to the Associated Press, which ran an article on the study. 

For every degree the world warms in the future, lightning strikes will increase by almost seven percent, researchers concluded.

If global warming really gets out of control, as some predict, what is two lightning strikes in a storm now would be three.

The reason for all this new lightning in the future? Warmer air holds more water vapor. Water vapor is a fuel for thunderstorms, thus more lightning. (Ever notice thunderstorms are more likely on warm, humid days? There you go.)

Plus, in a warmer world, researchers think clouds would tend to have more upward momentum. Think thunderheads. Towering clouds sometimes form into thunderstorms. Again, Zap! More lightning.

More lightning, can of course, be very bad, given that it sometimes sets fire to homes and forests. Though the vast majority of wildfires are started by humans, a few are set off by lightning, so that's a danger.

As I write this, lightning is flashing in some epic lake effect snow bands in New York State. Though I certainly can't connect that to climate change, it's just that much more lightning flashing out there.

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