According to a team of researchers from Innsbruck, the number of lightning strikes in the high elevations of the Eastern Alps has doubled since 1980. According to the scientists, the main reason for this is climate change and the resulting rise in temperatures, which influenced both the frequency of thunderstorms and lightning. For their study, which was published in the journal "Climate Dynamics", the atmospheric and statistical scientists combined several sources of information and drew on further analyzes from the past four decades.
"Our analyzes of this area have now shown that the rising temperatures due to climate change mean that the frequency of thunderstorms and lightning is increasing even further," said researcher Thorsten Simon. The team was surprised that this trend was so clearly in line with global changes in the climate system.
According to the Innsbruck scientists, the most intensive changes occurred between 1980 and 2019 in the high Alps. In these areas, the blitz season reaches a stronger maximum and starts a month earlier. Similar signals along the southern and northern edges of the Alps are present, but weaker. The flat areas around the Alps showed no significant trend.