Polar Lightning

Scientists say they are alarmed at the sudden and rapid increase in lightning strikes across the high Arctic during the past few years. Once very rare, the 7,278 lightning bolts north of 80 degrees latitude during 2021 were nearly double the number in the previous nine years combined.

The trend was highlighted by the Finnish scientific instrument manufacturer Vaisala, which issues an annual report on global lightning. The more frequent lightning bolts are being caused by disappearing sea ice, which means more water is able to evaporate, and the greater atmospheric instability caused by Arctic warming that is occurring at four times the global average.

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