Does Air Pollution Increase Lightning Risks?

Somehow, 4.5 million people are having a major effect on the meteorology of Houston," said Richard Orville of Texas A&M University in the May issue of Scientific American.According to the report, a study of environmental and weather conditions in Houston and nearby Louisiana has found elevated levels of lightning ground strikes in Houston and Lake Charles, La.

09/01/2001


Somehow, 4.5 million people are having a major effect on the meteorology of Houston," said Richard Orville of Texas A&M University in the May issue of Scientific American.

According to the report, a study of environmental and weather conditions in Houston and nearby Louisiana has found elevated levels of lightning ground strikes in Houston and Lake Charles, La. "One thing the two cities share is major air pollution sources, including petroleum refineries," the article notes.

Houston is hit by an average of 1,700 ground strikes per month, second only to Florida.

Researchers simulated the region's meteorology—with and without Houston's urban variables. They found that the strong patterns of convergence over the city were not caused by Galveston Bay, but rather by the "heat island effect" of the city itself.

From Pure Power, Fall 2001.





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