The American Geophysical Union reports that a long-term study of major shipping lanes indicates that ship exhaust is dramatically altering lightning patterns. It's not clear what the long-term effects might be.
The results provide some of the first evidence that humans are changing cloud formation on a nearly continual basis, rather than after a specific incident like a wildfire, according to the authors. Cloud formation can affect rainfall patterns and alter climate by changing how much sunlight clouds reflect to space.
“It’s one of the clearest examples of how humans are actually changing the intensity of storm processes on Earth through the emission of particulates from combustion,” said Joel Thornton, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle and lead author of the new study in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.
In this image from Thompson's study, the top map shows annual average lightning density at a resolution of about 10 kilometers (6 miles), as recorded by the WWLLN, from 2005 to 2016. The bottom map shows aerosol emissions from ships crossing routes in the Indian Ocean and South China sea from 2010.
• Ship exaust makes oceanic thunderstorms more intense (via Atlas Obscura)
Twenty-five experts have issued a warning about the potentially cataclysmic consequences of the rapidly shrinking insect population, reports The Guardian. In a two-part article for Biological Conservation, the scientists wrote: “The current [insect] extinction crisis is deeply worrisome. Yet, what we know is only the tip of the iceberg.We know enough to act immediately. Solutions […]
Scientists say 20.75º C logged at Seymour Island is ‘incredible and abnormal’
After a video of a woman luring deer into her home went viral, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is reminding humans — yet again — to please, please, just leave deer and all other wildlife alone. Do not feed the animals. Do not post videos of yourself feeding wild animals in your home.
It may not rank up there with climate change or personal debt, but confess…isn’t it the worst when you’re trying to put a food container in the fridge, but can’t find the right lid to fit? Hey, not everything has to be a global crisis to be irritating to the core. But still…it’s even more […]
Assembling a truly autonomous smart home is getting closer and closer to reality every day. But for every new smart bulb, thermostat, home security system and appliance we set loose within our walls, there are still probably a half dozen “dumb” items we’d still love to replace. But whether they’re too costly or too big […]
With so many manufacturers out there these days, it’s tough to know who to trust in the ultra-competitive wireless earbuds market. If you’ve never heard of LinearFlux, you may soon. That’s because it’s a company with a stellar pedigree whose co-founders were two of the engineers behind the original success of two audio houses you […]