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Current Affairs

Lightning strikes could double in Arctic

Date: 06 April 2021 Tags: Climate Change

Issue

A research has been conducted regarding how lightning strikes are increasing in Arctic areas as a result of climate change.

 

Background

Lightning strikes usually occur in lower latitudes and the observation of first lightning strikes is an indication of changing climatic conditions.

 

Details

  • Scientists identified how lightning changes in boreal forests and Arctic tundra in high-latitude areas of Eurasia and North America.

  • The size of lightning was quite surprising as such amount of charge was not expected to be found in mid-latitudes.

  • The findings indicate how Arctic climate is changing under changing climate. Its climate is expected to be similar to Southern areas in summer where lightning is common.

 

The study

Researchers conducted relationship between flash rate and climatic factors. They discovered increase in lightning strikes incidents due to increases in atmospheric convection.

 

Effects of lightning

  • Lightning strike can burn away major components of Arctic tundra such as short grasses and mosses.

  • Larger trees will start growing after small shrubs vanish due to succession. These trees are darker in nature and attract more sunlight that will increase the temperature further.

  • The heat will melt away permafrost soils that hold large amounts of carbon. This will result in increase in concentration of carbon causing global warming.