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Scientists Stupefied By Rare Arctic Lightning Sparked by Thunderstorms in Alaska

Rare Arctic Lightening Spotted By Scientists…Get the details…

Tuesday, 20th July 2021

Thunderstorms in North Alaska on Monday over sea ice unbridled a series of rare lightning strikes.

These unusual lightning strikes that occur only once or twice in ten years, sparked directly over sea ice north of Prudhoe Bay.

Scientists have been in a state of stupefaction over the phenomenon and have cautioned that if the current trend of climate change continues, Alaska will see a rise in the number of thunderstorms, floods, landslides, and wildfires.

Ed Plumb, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Fairbanks, speaking about the storms that started on Saturday said, “Forecasters hadn’t seen anything like that before.”

Moreover, studies suggest that in this American state that is experiencing rapid warming, it may not be much longer before they see a steep rise in the number of thunderstorms. In fact, even before the end of the century, the numbers could triple.

The phenomenon is directly linked with the rise in air temperatures as the warm atmosphere has the capacity to hold more moisture and can even cause more rapid updrafts. These are the two primary factors that bring about lightning.

Another natural phenomenon that is being seen in Alaska now is a rapid retreat of the Arctic sea ice. This is exposing them to more nearby open water that in turn is leading to more water vapor entering the atmosphere, as explained by scientists in their papers published in the journal, Climate Dynamics.


Also Read: Solar storms are heading towards land, which can affect cell phones and GPS signals.


Studies are still underway to determine the association between climate change and lightning. According to research that was published in 2014 in the Journal of Science, there is approximately 12 percent more lightning for every 1 degree Celsius of atmospheric warming above preindustrial temperatures.

This upward trend in the number of thunderstorms may lead to a rise in incessant rainfall by about 37 percent by 2100, according to researchers.

In a study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letter, Robert Holzworth, an atmospheric physicist at the University of Washington in Seattle wrote, “It’s going to go with the temperatures.”

He said these electrical storms are a greater threat to Boreal forests around the Arctic region.

Rick Thoman, a climate scientist with the University of Alaska Fairbanks said, “What used to be very rare is now just rare,” and added, “I have no memory of three consecutive days of this kind of thing” in the Arctic.


The News Talkie Bureau


India Today

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