We're anything but weather experts around here, but we were still interested in new data that shows how weather patterns are altered by automotive exhaust. Apparently, it's been known for quite some time that the fumes from our cars and trucks causes stronger updrafts and larger clouds, which has the effect of modifying rainfall patterns. New information, though, shows that an increase of lightning activity can accompany those rainy weekdays.
This new information is based on 10 years worth of data collected by by the ground-based National Lightning Detection Network in the United States in the months of June to August. The hardest hit areas were in the southeastern states, where lightning strikes increased by 25 percent on high-pollution workdays.
Interestingly, rural areas and suburbs of big cities recorded the highest gains in lightning activity. "There is a misconception that if you get away from cities, you get away from the pollution. Actually, it follows you for hundreds of miles," according to Daniel Rosenfeld of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Good to know, sort of.
[Source: New Scientist via Jalopnik]