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Lightning and climate change

Lightning and climate change

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Lightning is a widely recognized source of damage and disruption to electrical power systems worldwide. The climate is changing, with both natural and anthropogenic origins. This chapter is concerned with the response of lightning to changes in temperature and aerosol loading of the atmosphere that are expected to accompany climate change. In the present climate, lightning is shown to increase with both temperature and with the boundary layer populations of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). In a future climate characterized by the continued consumption of fossil fuels, the threat from lightning is expected to increase.

Chapter Contents:

  • 1.1 Introduction
  • 1.2 Basics of thunderstorm electrification and lightning
  • 1.3 Thermodynamic control on lightning activity
  • 1.3.1 Temperature
  • 1.3.2 Dew point temperature
  • 1.3.3 Water vapor and the Clausius–Clapeyron relationship
  • 1.3.4 Convective available potential energy and its temperature dependence
  • 1.3.5 Cloud base height and its influence on cloud microphysics
  • 1.3.6 Balance level considerations in deep convection
  • 1.3.7 Baroclinicity
  • 1.4 Global lightning response to temperature on different time scales
  • 1.4.1 Diurnal variation
  • 1.4.2 Semiannual variation
  • 1.4.3 Annual variation
  • 1.4.4 ENSO
  • 1.4.5 Decadal time scale
  • 1.4.6 Multi-decadal time scale
  • 1.5 Aerosol influence on moist convection and lightning activity
  • 1.5.1 Basic concepts
  • 1.5.2 Observational support
  • 1.6 Nocturnal thunderstorms
  • 1.7 Meteorological control on lightning type
  • 1.8 The global circuits as monitors for destructive lightning and climate change
  • 1.9 Expectations for the future
  • References

Inspec keywords: air pollution; fossil fuels; atmospheric boundary layer; aerosols; clouds

Other keywords: anthropogenic origins; electrical power systems worldwide; climate change; future climate; widely recognized source; natural origins; lightning

Subjects: Particles and aerosols in the lower atmosphere; Climatology; Air quality and air pollution; Cloud physics; Europe; Atmospheric boundary layer structure and processes; Atmosphere (environmental science)

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