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Lightning as a measure of global warming

  1. Mar 9, 2009 #1
    1. Is an annual increase of lightning strikes worldwide a measure of global warming?

    2. What has been the correlation between such discharges and temperature in recent decades?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 9, 2009 #2


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    Don't remember seeing anything about this in the IPCC reports. But here is an article referencing a NASA study:




    Interesting that fewer storms are predicted, but those that do form are more severe.
  4. Mar 9, 2009 #3


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  5. Mar 9, 2009 #4
    Would you say that global warming leads to more turbulence in the atmosphere?
  6. Mar 9, 2009 #5


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    Overall, Global Warming is expected to result in fewer storms which implies less turbulence. However, the storms that do form are expected to be stronger and more severe, which implies more turbulence.

    So, I wouldn't say that Global Warming clearly leads to more turbulence, although it probably does.
  7. Mar 9, 2009 #6
    In been a correlation between thunderstorms and Global Warming is hard to actually know. You have to do research and try to find if there are any lurking variables that will explain the phenomenon. Mostly because you are dealing with nature, there is more than meets the eye. Is like saying classical music increases better grades, is this a correlation or is there a lurking variable that will explain the situation? It might be true or not, but you have to create a nonbias experiment to get adecuate results.
  8. Mar 10, 2009 #7

    which states:

    I wonder what happened to the scientific method. The models seem to have overtaken it. They appear to demonstrate now what's going to happen. In the good old days models were a tool to work out an idea to formulate a prediction, which needed to be checked against reality. Now what would happen if reality is different. Model right, reality wrong?

    Nevertheless, the expectation of stronger storms is obviously based on a stronger gradient or lapse rate in the atmosphere caused by more effective greenhouse effect near the Earth surface, which enhances convection. But this also activates several different negative feedbacks,
    1: the increase of energy in a storm must be balanced by a decrease in energy at the Earth surface hence a decrease in temperature.
    2: The stronger gradient, causes an increase of the tropopause altitude, bringing the warmer greenhouse gasses to an higher altitude, where the out radiation rate to space is increased.
    3: the increase in cloud cover increases reflectivity, decreasing the temperature at the surface

    See also this thread for substantiations.
  9. Mar 10, 2009 #8


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    Actually, CO2 is most effective at the top of the cloud layer.

    Anyhow, the IPCC reports that lapse rate is a negative feedback:

    And negatively correlated with water vapor!

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