THE TIMES OF INDIA, CHENNAI
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2014 ; 17
London: New climate models have predicted a 50% increase in lightning strikes across the world during this century as a result of warming temperatures linked with climate change. University of California, Berkeley’s climate scientist David Romps and his colleagues looked at predictions of precipitation and cloud buoyancy in 11 different climate models and conclude that their combined effect will generate more frequent electrical discharges to the ground. “With warming, thunderstorms become more explosive,” said Romps. “Warming causes there to be more water vapour in the atmosphere, and with more fuel, when you get ignition, it can go big time.” More lightning strikes mean more injuries; estimates of people struck each year range from the hundreds to nearly a thousand, with scores of deaths. There would also be more wildfires, since half of all fires, and often the hardest to fight, are ignited by lightning, Romps said. More lightning also would likely generate more nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere, which exert a strong control on atmospheric chemistry.