‘Variation of Lightning-ignited Wildfire Patterns Under Climate change’

Wildfires have been an increasingly frequent occurrence in recent years, wreaking havoc on ecosystems, wildlife, and human settlements. As the world experiences rising temperatures due to climate change, a new study suggests that these wildfires may become even more common. The research paper titled ‘Variation of lightning-ignited wildfire patterns under climate change’ published in the journal Nature Climate Change, explores the link between climate change, lightning strikes, and wildfires.

The Study

The study, which is the first of its kind, was conducted by researchers from the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia in Spain and the Institute of Atmospheric Physics in Germany. The team analyzed satellite images of US wildfires between 1992 and 2018, looking specifically at the type of lightning that caused the fire. They found that hot lightning, which is associated with high-temperature events, accounted for almost 90% of the 5,858 selected lightning-ignited fires. Hot lightning differs from regular lightning in that it is not immediately followed by rainfall, allowing the fire to spread.

Climate Change and Hot Lightning

The study also found that as the global temperature increases, hot lightning strikes may become more common, leading to an increased risk of wildfires. This is because rising temperatures increase the likelihood of thunderstorms and high-temperature events, which in turn increase the frequency of hot lightning strikes.

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