Warming world means a hike in US lightning strikes

时间:2019-03-05 05:16:09166网络整理admin

GOLFERS beware. Expect more lightning bolts as the world warms up. Millions more. We already know that climate change is increasing the likelihood of storms, tornadoes and heatwaves. Now a model of how climate change will affect lightning patterns in the US predicts that the number of lightning bolts will increase by 50 per cent over the next century. “For every two lightning strikes in 2000, there will be three in 2100,” says David Romps at the University of California, Berkeley, who led the study. In the worst-case scenario, with 5 °C of global warming, lightning strikes could more than double (Science, doi.org/w5k). There are already 25 million lightning strikes per year in the US, killing approximately 100 people and igniting half of wildfires. More lightning potentially means more strikes on people and buildings, and more wildfires. Romps’s team developed a model that uses data on rainfall and storm energy to predict lightning and validated it against real-world lightning data from 2011. They then applied it to 11 standard projections of climate change, which range in predicted global warming from 2.5 °C to 5 °C to predict future lightning patterns. Romps now hopes to work out how the additional lightning will be distributed to help predict changes to wildfire frequency. And he is optimistic that the same model could be applied to other regions of the world. This article appeared in print under the headline “Warming world will bring millions more lightning bolts” More on these topics: