Is there lightning in the Arctic?


Dear Tom,
Is there lightning in the Arctic? ?
—Al Mann
Dear Al,
Yes, lightning does occur in the Arctic, but it is rare. Lightning flashes in the Arctic regions of northern North America, although rare, are becoming more frequent. That is the finding of a new paper authored by Yang Chen, a researcher at the University of California, Irvine. Lightning in the Arctic used to be so rare that people could go their entire lives without seeing a flash, but as the region warms rapidly, it is becoming more common. One recent study projects the occurrence of lightning in the Arctic could double by the end of the century. Lightning-induced grassland and forest fires in the Arctic seem to be the result of higher temperatures there: up two to five degrees in the last 30 years (highest on the planet).

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