According to a recent study, rising global temperatures may cause more “hot lightning” strikes in various regions of the world. It was also mentioned that this kind of lightning is more likely than regular lightning to start wildfires.

The study, “Variation of lightning-ignited wildfire patterns under climate change,” was conducted by Francisco J. Pérez-Invernón, Francisco J. Gordillo-Vázquez, Heidi Huntrieser, and Patrick Jöckel of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, and it was published in the journal Nature Communications (Germany).

The largest wildfires in some locations, notably the Western United States, are caused by lightning, the researchers claim. Lightning is a primary cause of starting wildfires. Wildfires sparked by lightning are hazardous because they spread quickly before adequate defences can be put in place and spew large amounts of carbon, nitrogen oxides, and other trace chemicals into the atmosphere.

The most recent research is the first time that scientists have concentrated on the association between “hot lightning” strikes and rising global temperatures, even though other studies have shown that climate change may cause an increase in lightning strike events. Also, they looked at how this type of lightning might impact the occurrence of wildfires around the planet.

According to an analysis of 5,858 lightning-ignited fires made using satellite pictures of US wildfires between 1992 and 2018, 90% of them may have been caused by “hot lightning” strikes. This kind of lightning strike, also known as a long continuing current (LCC), can linger for anywhere between 40 milliseconds and over a third of a second.

Co-author of the new study Francisco J. Pérez-Invernón explained to The Indian Express why “hot lighting” has a higher risk of starting a wildfire than regular lightning: “Lightning with ongoing currents can transmit more energy from cloud to ground than regular lightning. Compared to conventional lightning, lightning with ongoing currents produces greater Joule heating and higher temperatures when it strikes the ground or vegetation, increasing the likelihood of

The researchers used computer simulations to examine the frequency of “hot lightning” strikes and found that by 2090, there may have been a 41% increase in LCC strikes as the atmosphere warmed. This implies that the frequency of such lightning flashes could increase from three to four per second globally. The frequency of all cloud-to-ground collisions may rise to about eight flashes per second, a 28% increase, in the meantime.

“Compared to regular lightning, we found that lightning with a persistent current had a greater probability of starting a wildfire. As a result, we have determined that climate change may alter the ratio of lightning with ongoing currents to all lightning. Thus, changes in the frequency of lightning with continuous currents as well as changes in lightning and meteorology would affect how sensitive wildfires caused by lightning are to climate change, according to Pérez-Invernón.

The study suggests that Southeast Asia, South America, Africa, Australia, North America, and Europe may experience a considerable rise in wildfires brought on by LCC attacks. After taking into account variations in temperature, humidity, and precipitation, the researchers made this prediction. Conversely, many polar locations in the north may experience a decline

Lightning is a sudden, powerful electrical discharge that occurs either within the storm clouds themselves or between them and the earth. Positive and negative charges within a cloud are thought to separate in order for lightning to occur. This happens, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), when the water droplets in the lowest section of the cloud are transported higher, where the much colder environment freezes them into little ice crystals.

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