Mystery of powerful lightning at sea not solved, completely

Earth System Science News

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (June 20, 2016) — The mystery of why most of the most powerful lightning on Earth happens over the oceans isn’t solved, but a few of the usual suspects are no longer in custody.

It isn’t an instrument error, as some hypothesized. Nor is it the relative rarity of cloud-to-sea lightning allowing charges to build. And when it comes to cloud top heights, size apparently doesn’t matter.

It’s possible the increased presence of salt in the atmosphere plays a role, but if that is the case it probably has an accomplice. The evidence implicates ice crystal size, although air flowing back and forth along the land-sea boundary might also be involved.

“There isn’t one single mechanism that by itself justifies the stronger peak current we see in cloud-to-ground lightning over the oceans,” said Themis Chronis, a research scientist in the Earth System Science Center at The University of…

View original post 475 more words

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s