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Old 28-09-2017, 14:22   #1
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Shipping causes lightning?

Yet another reason to stay clear of shipping lanes:


UW researchers find that lightning strike frequency (above) correlates surprisingly well with cargo ship aerosol emissions (below).

Thornton, J. A., K. S. Virts, R. H. Holzworth, and T. P. Mitchell (2017), Lightning enhancement over major oceanic shipping lanes, Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, 91029111, doi:10.1002/2017GL074982.
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Old 28-09-2017, 15:33   #2
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Re: Shipping causes lightning?

Odd, now who woulda thunk that would happen... but then are these lightning strikes cloud to cloud, cloud to sea surface or cloud to tall mast on big ship?
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Old 28-09-2017, 15:58   #3
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Re: Shipping causes lightning?

Maybe it's because there's instrumentation there to observe the lightning strikes ... ?
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Old 28-09-2017, 16:25   #4
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Re: Shipping causes lightning?

Probably due to the cargo ship aerosol emissions.

For a lightning arc to occur, the "air" has to be ionised and various gases allow the ionisation to occur at lower voltages.
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Old 28-09-2017, 16:43   #5
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Re: Shipping causes lightning?

Satellites monitor the whole earth for lightening strikes .http://www.lightningmaps.org
Kinda cool
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Old 28-09-2017, 17:09   #6
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Re: Shipping causes lightning?

Taller ships make it easier for lightning to go to ground. Also wind on big things can make static electric charges that have something to do with lightning.
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Old 28-09-2017, 17:14   #7
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Re: Shipping causes lightning?

ISTM that apart from that line between Sri Lanka and Indonesia and, to a lesser extent from Singapore past Vietnam, that there is no apparent similar correlation over the rest of the global oceans.

In fact if you look at the latest global 5 day data from the same source, you will see that similar lines extend at the latitude across the other oceans where they are not major shipping routes.

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Old 28-09-2017, 18:18   #8
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Re: Shipping causes lightning?

Correlation does not equal causation...
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Old 29-09-2017, 06:23   #9
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Re: Shipping causes lightning?

Quote:
Originally Posted by transmitterdan View Post
Correlation does not equal causation...
Sadly, nowadays (and maybe forever, I've only been around for about 60 years, myself) there are a HUGE number of people who simply do not "get" this. Not surprising, but the disappointing thing is the large number of people who insist that they are scientifically savvy, who STILL do not "get" this!
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Old 29-09-2017, 09:48   #10
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Re: Shipping causes lightning?

Quote:
Originally Posted by transmitterdan View Post
Correlation does not equal causation...
This!
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Old 29-09-2017, 10:20   #11
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Re: Shipping causes lightning?

I see a strong negative correlation here...

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Old 29-09-2017, 10:59   #12
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Re: Shipping causes lightning?

One could also draw a correlation between cell phone sales, the number of pirates and "global warming".
The chart would probably look similar to the one above.

Therefore, global warming is caused by cellphones.


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Old 29-09-2017, 11:07   #13
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Re: Shipping causes lightning?

It's a strange article. They simply looked at the lightning frequency map, and the emissions map, and conclude it's ship exhaust. WTF. As pointed out, ships make excellent conductors. I would have expected the correlation on that fact alone. The theory about emissions is simply that...a theory, and the researchers have not done any researching to determine if it's a causal factor or not, or if they did it was not reported.

Another scientist stated “The study shows, highly unambiguously, the relationship between anthropogenic emissions – in this case, from diesel engines – on deep convective clouds.” I'm not sure it "shows" that, unambiguously or otherwise.

Am I missing something here? Is there any reason that the grounding effect could be eliminated as a factor?
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Old 29-09-2017, 13:21   #14
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Re: Shipping causes lightning?

Am I not correct in saying that they are not talking about lightning strikes on the ships themselves, but rather total strikes in the area? As seen by satellites which don't discriminate with respect to WHAT that strike hits...

If so, many of the above arguments fail.

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Old 29-09-2017, 14:35   #15
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Re: Shipping causes lightning?

If you actually compare the plots of lightning strikes to ship tracks, there are some interesting patterns that I doubt could be explained by natural weather patterns (which had been my initial knee-jerk reaction). It wouldn't surprise me to find that combustion products had some effect on ionization and the resulting lightning strikes.

If so that's interesting, but not evidence of a problem.
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