Ocean acidifcation may be increasing the intensity of lightning over the oceans

The anthropogenic increase in atmospheric CO2 is not only considered to drive global warming, but also ocean acidification. Previous studies have shown that acidification will affect many aspects of biogenic carbon uptake and release in the surface water of the oceans. In this report we present a potential novel impact of acidification on the flash intensity of lightning discharged into the oceans. Our experimental results show that a decrease in ocean pH corresponding to the predicted increase in atmospheric CO2 according to the IPCC RCP 8.5 worst case emission scenario, may increase the intensity of lightning discharged into seawater by approximately 30 ± 7% by the end of the twenty-first century relative to 2000.

Asfur M., Silverman J. & Price C., 2020. Ocean acidification may be increasing the intensity of lightning over the oceans. Scientific Representative 10: 21847. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-79066-8. Article.

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