Arctic Lightning Up 300% in One 11-Year Study



Updrafts of warm, moist air set up the conditions for lightning, so thunderstorms are hardly the stuff of polar regions. Or are they? Researchers recently mined a global lightning database and found that the fraction of lightning occurring over the Arctic has grown by more than 300% over the past 11 years. That’s a surprise, the team suggests, and a phenomenon potentially linked to warming temperatures. But other scientists don’t see the same trend in their data.

A team of researchers led by Robert Holzworth, an atmospheric and space physicist at the University of Washington, analyzed data from the World Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN). WWLLN detects roughly 700,000 lightning strokes every day on the basis of the…



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