Week 103 | November 25, 2014
For years I have been posting and warning that lightning is on the rise. These articles start as early as 2012 and continue with this one today. While I had no scientific proof of this, and just an errant report or study here and there to point to here and there to loosely support my observations, I could not state it as fact, only opinion. My claims were controversial and received some scowling, irritated utterances and scolding from my scientific and professorial associates, as well as my enemies. Well today I have been vindicated and may I suggest dear reader, that you take notice and read, read, read!!!
On October 9, 2013 I wrote this blog “To Strike or Not to Strike, that is the Question: Is there more lightning or am I imagining it?” It reviews most of my previous blogs on the subject, and also references a study by Scherer of Stanford Trapp of Purdue (published in the New York Times). This was the first study which gave me a little bit of hope that my own investigation was not just speculation.
“Just a little walk down memory lane and giving you a little proof of the pudding before I unveil the main attraction”
These were not just ravings on my part. And I know it is easy for those of you in the various industries we serve to say, “She is just trying to sell lightning protection solutions.” Well, no, what I am trying to impart is important knowledge which could save your facility, company and most importantly life. While I am not an engineer, scientist or academic I am pretty savvy. I am in a unique position to observe lightning all the time and when I see lightning striking in places where it is usually absent; striking more often and more violently in the usual places, I stand up and take notice. More importantly I yell it from the rafters to whoever will listen. If your business depends on product that is flammable, automated operations, structural soundness, technology, and/or sensitive electronics of any kind, lightning is coming, more of it, with more strength and more often. Now is the time to invest in lightning protection, grounding engineering and surge protection. They are all important and necessary to be truly protected.
This month Science Magazine published this study done by Romps, Seeley, Vollaro, and Molinari from Berkeley which was submitted in July for publication and accepted in October 2014.
Projected increase in lightning strikes in the United States due to global warming
David M. Romps,1* Jacob T. Seeley,1 David Vollaro,2 John Molinari2
Lightning plays an important role in atmospheric chemistry and in the initiation of wildfires, but the impact of global warming on lightning rates is poorly constrained. Here we propose that the lightning flash rate is proportional to the convective available potential energy (CAPE) times the precipitation rate. Using observations, the product of CAPE and precipitation explains 77% of the variance in the time series of total cloud-to-ground lightning flashes over the contiguous United States (CONUS). Storms convert CAPE times precipitated water mass to discharged lightning energy with an efficiency of 1%. When this proxy is applied to 11 climate models, CONUS lightning strikes are predicted to increase 12 ± 5% per degree Celsius of global warming and about 50% over this century.
If you have any lightning stories you would like to share with us, positive or negative and/or if you have any questions or need additional information please feel free to contact me at LightningDiva@lecglobal.com
Be careful out there! Visit www.lightningprotection.com for all your lightning protection needs. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for more information and updates as well as some great photos. Thank you for visiting! Big thank you to Thorne & Derrick for hosting my blog this week.