As the earth gets warmer lightning is expected to increase, according to Tel Aviv University scientist Colin Price. One of the world’s leading experts on the matter, Price claims that for every degree Celsius the Earth’s temperature rises, lightning will intensify by 10 percent.
Price points out that the hottest parts of the world already have the most lightning.
“The underdeveloped world is where you have the maximum frequency of lightning and thunderstorms — in places like the Central African Republic and DR Congo, the Amazon region of South America, the Indonesian islands and Borneo in South East Asia,” he says.
Those same areas are also the places where lightning strikes are most dangerous.
“When you add the figures up, there may even be more people killed or injured by lightning than most of the other natural hazards we have on the earth today,” he stresses.
According to Price’s theory, as the Earth warms due to climate change and the planet’s population booms as predicted by UN population experts, more parts of the earth will become lightning-prone, increasing the number of lightning-related deaths worldwide.
The number of storms, though, Price believes, will actually decrease, meaning that the world will see less frequent, but far more violent storms.
He points to his team’s research to back up his claims.
“During El Nino years, which occur in the Pacific Ocean or Basin, Southeast Asia gets warmer and drier,” Price notes. “There are fewer thunderstorms, but we found fifty percent more lightning activity.”
His lightning theory also recently got a boost when a Brazilian research team published a study noting that one town in Brazil has witnessed a 50 percent increase in lightning strikes, possibly due to the rising heat in the urban area and deforestation.
Not all scientists, though, are sold by Price’s lightning and climate change link. Instead, they believe lightning is not getting more frequent at all, scientists are simply getting better and more accurate at observing it.