Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, and one of the consequences of this is a predicted increase in the volume of lightning in the US every year. Lightning strikes can be incredibly dangerous, causing wildfires, power outages, and damage to infrastructure. In this blog post, we’ll explore why climate change is likely to increase the frequency of lightning strikes in the US, and what this means for the future, including the importance of installing lightning protection on your home.
First, let’s take a look at what causes lightning. Lightning is an electrical discharge that occurs when there is a buildup of charge in the atmosphere. This charge is generated by a combination of factors, including the movement of air currents, the presence of water droplets, and the presence of ions in the atmosphere. When there is a large buildup of charge, it can discharge in the form of lightning.
So, how does climate change come into play? As temperatures rise due to global warming, there is an increase in the amount of energy in the atmosphere. This energy can fuel thunderstorms, which are the primary cause of lightning strikes. In addition, as the atmosphere becomes warmer, it can hold more moisture, which means there is more fuel available for thunderstorms. This can lead to more frequent and intense thunderstorms, which in turn can lead to more lightning strikes.
In fact, a study published in the journal Science in 2014 found that lightning strikes in the US are likely to increase by 12% for every 1°C increase in global temperature. This means that if global temperatures continue to rise at their current rate, we can expect to see a significant increase in the frequency of lightning strikes in the US in the coming decades.
So, what does this mean for the future? For one, it means that we need to be better prepared for the increased risk of lightning strikes. This could involve taking steps to protect our infrastructure, such as power lines and buildings, from lightning damage. It could also involve being more vigilant during thunderstorms and taking steps to stay safe, such as staying indoors and avoiding open areas.
One effective way to protect your home from lightning damage is to install a lightning protection system. A lightning protection system typically consists of a network of conductors and ground rods that are installed on the roof and around the perimeter of the building. These conductors and ground rods help to divert the electrical charge from lightning strikes away from the building and into the ground, where it can safely dissipate.
In addition, it’s important that we continue to take action to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change. This is the only way to slow the rate of global warming and reduce the risk of more frequent and intense thunderstorms, as well as other dangerous consequences of climate change.
In conclusion, climate change is likely to increase the frequency of lightning strikes in the US, with potentially serious consequences. By understanding the science behind this phenomenon and taking steps to prepare, including installing lightning protection on your home, we can work to minimize the impact of climate change on our communities and our planet.