A study presented at the meeting of the American Geophysical Union analyzed atmospheric factors that may have contributed to the decline in lightning, by 10-20% during 2020, which witnessed the peak of closures.
A meteorologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, lead author of the study, Earl Williams, said that his team used 3 different methods to measure lightning, all of which indicated a decrease in activity associated with this weather phenomenon, according to the American “Fox News” network.
The study focused on the optical depth of aerosols, which measures the particles produced by burning fuels, as these particles can accelerate and enhance the aggregation of water vapor and the formation of clouds, and then the emergence of lightning.
But with the wave of closures around the world, the burning rates of fuel and hence the amount of these particles in the atmosphere decreased, knowing that their collision with clouds is the charges responsible for generating lightning.
The study compared lightning activity and aerosol levels between March and May 2020, with the same period in 2018 and 2021.
The study confirmed that the lightning retreat was generally consistent with a decrease in the amount of aerosol particles in several regions across Africa, Europe and Asia, with a smaller decrease in the Americas.