Lightning Storms Triggered By Exhaust From Cargo Ships

Submitted by: daegog 2 months ago in Science


Just a tiny sample of how human activity can effect the weather.

An excerpt from New Scientist: When Joel Thornton at the University of Washington in Seattle and his colleagues looked at records of lightning strikes between 2005 and 2016 from the World Wide Lightning Location Network, they noticed there were significantly more strikes in certain regions of the east Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, compared with the surrounding areas. 

“We were quite sure the ships had to be involved,” says Thornton. But they still had to eliminate other factors that influence storm intensity, such as wind speeds and temperatures.

when there are a lot of seeds, like over busy shipping routes, a greater number of small cloud drops form. Since these are light, they rise up high into the atmosphere and freeze, creating clouds rich in ice.

It is this that leads to more intense thunderstorms: lightning only occurs if clouds are electrically charged, and this only happens if there are lots of ice crystals.
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