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Lightning Expected to Increase by 50 Percent with Global Warming


University of California Berkley scientist David Romps and his colleagues analyzed 11 different climate studies and concluded that changing climate will include increased lightning strikes. The studies, focusing on cloud buoyancy and precipitation, showed an increased amount of water vapor due to warming air. Water vapor is the fuel for for thunderstorms and explosive deep convection in the atmosphere, and with increased amounts in the atmosphere the frequency and ferocity of these storms will increase. Precipitation-the total amount of water hitting the ground in the form of rain, snow, hail, sleet, etc.- is essentially a measure of how conductive the atmosphere is.  Buoyancy is measured in the form of CAPE, convective available potential energy. This measures how potentially explosive the atmosphere is. Romps found that by analyzing these two factors he could accurately predict strength, frequency, and size of storms.

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  1. blevans1

    This is really interesting. It’s surprising to see the widespread effects of climate change. I would never have expected climate change to effect something as specific as the amount of lightning strikes. It makes you really aware of the tangible problems we are causing in the world. I found this interesting article on the topic:

  2. sgagocytosis

    This is a scary and interesting article, Menstruation! I just read something that increased water vapor concentrations is directly related to human activities. The rising temperatures from greenhouse gases raise the water vapor concentrations in the upper troposphere. I hope people will soon realize that their actions are directly affecting the rise in temperatures and global warming. More people should start driving hybrid cars or cars that don’t need to use a lot of gas. Here’s the article I read

  3. andybody

    Very well done. It’s interesting to read about the real affects of global warming. I wonder if the increase of water vapor will increase the frequency of the storms themselves or simply the duration and strength of individual storms. This article ( actually suggests that it would be premature to “conclude that human activities–and particularly greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming–have already had a detectable impact on Atlantic hurricane activity.”

  4. izotope

    What an interesting article! I never thought of how increased water vapor could fuel thunderstorms and explosive deep convection! It will be interesting how this will affect everyday life in the future and what efforts will be made to fix this. I found a very interesting article at Climate Central on how this might create problems like wildfires.

  5. whitebloodcell

    Very interesting article! I know that lightning causes many wildfires in the United States alone, so an increase in lightning strikes could pose a threat to the forest ecosystem. A similar study has predicted that for every degree that the global temperature increases, the frequency of lightning strikes will increase by 12% (

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