Africa, a Thunder and Lightning Hot Spot, May See Even More Storms

The size and frequency of thunderstorms has risen along with global temperatures, researchers at the University of Tel Aviv found. 

Comments: 13

  1. Thank you for these many important, interesting, instructive articles about the climate problems in the world. We need to support politically and financially the researchers who are discovering new effects and predicting the future of the Earth. We also need reporters and news media to link us together so that we may push our “leaders” to save the life as we know it now on our planet.

  2. "There is no organized data for lightning casualties that covers all of Africa, but a 2018 study of eight countries put the number of deaths at about 500 per year. Globally, estimates range from 6,000 to 24,000 deaths per year. " So maybe I am misreading this but this indicates that Africa has less than 10% of global deaths assuming the lowest number on the range and if one were to assume the mid range number of 13,000 deaths per year, Africa does not seem to be the area at most risk of deaths. But generally I find this article not very informative but what a great picture.

  3. @Harry - you missed the "eight countries" with about 500 casualties. That's eight countries out of 54 nations in Africa.

  4. “ ... the effect of global warming on future thunderstorm activity is still debatable”. Notable that this conclusion in the underlying research paper did not appear in this NYT article.

  5. @JFB -- how's life in Canada's oil patch? Re-read the NYTimes article and you will clearly see: "Because of data limitations and differing methodologies, there is no consensus, for now at least, on how climate change will affect thunderstorms, or whether more thunderstorms would necessarily mean more lightning strikes. A study in Nature Climate Change in 2018, for instance, forecast a decrease in lightning as the world warms. One of the authors of that paper, Declan L. Finney, a meteorologist at the University of Leeds, said it was important to keep an open mind about how predictions could change as scientists refined their methods. “There’s still a lot of uncertainty, but this work is useful in contributing to that discussion,” Dr. Finney said of the new study."

  6. The photo accompanying this article is absolutely fantastic!

  7. @Abby Pretty certain that it is my city from the ridge pattern, the the Hillbrow Tower towards the left with the bluish lights at the top and the orange lighting on the freeway at bottom right. That photographer does quite a few of these on time lapse, so I don't believe these are simultaneous lightning strikes. Still, visitors to Johannesburg are sometimes freaked out by the frequency and proximity of lightning. And, as this is a climate story -- Rain that falls north ("this side") of that ridge ends up in the Indian Ocean; rain that falls south ("that side") ends up in the Atlantic.

  8. You ought read the abstract that you are referencing. Note the following quote, “While the effect of global warming on future thunderstorm activity is still debatable”. The fact is that there is no direct causal link between climate change and extreme weather.

  9. Lots of correlation. Trying to figure out what the incentive is in being a denialist. What does it get you?

  10. @Matthew that feeling to be the brightest light bulb in the room maybe ? A very stable genius

  11. @sjw51 You ought to read abstract for something beside quotes you can take out of context and misinterpret. But Matthew (above) asks a great question. Why is inhaling dirty, polluted air a good thing?

  12. When you average the last 40 years of warming of Earth's surface over several years you get something that looks fairly linear due to inertia in the system. (1) However, from NASA's former lead climate scientist James Hansen in 2016: "Locally and regionally you get abrupt events, which are the ones that have the biggest impact on people. The frequency and severity of extreme events increase as the planet continues to get warmer. Sea level and ice-sheet disintegration is also a very nonlinear process. It’s going to lead to rapid change within the next several decades." (2) Boil down climate change impacts to their essence and you get sooner than expected and with greater amplitude. Pretty much every single time. 1. 2.

  13. In the Yoruba godly pantheon Shango was the God of Thunder and Lightning. His symbol was the double- headed axe marking his dual nature as creator and destroyer. Twins were natural signs of Shango's duality.