8500 Homes Without Power Following Light ...

8500 Homes Without Power Following Lightning Strikes in Australia

Emergency crews are working to restore power supply to about 8,500 people in the Blue Mountains. Endeavour Energy responded to the outage after lightning strikes struck power lines earlier this afternoon. Lightning interrupted power to homes and businesses in Springwood, Winmalee, Faulconbridge, Valley Heights, Linden, Hawkesbury Heights and Sun Valley. “Emergency crews are currently patrolling the area to commence the restoration process,” an Endeavour Energy spokesman told The Daily Telegraph. “Until these patrols are completed it is not possible to give an estimate of the time it will take to restore power supply to affected customers.” He urged people who require power for medical equipment to check their battery supply and “consider acting on their back up plan”. Endeavour Energy thanked residents for their patience as they attempt to restore power.
Source - News archive

Lightning sparks around 100 fires in Sou ...

Lightning sparks around 100 fires in Southwest Oregon, other wildfires continue to burn

Firefighters have responded to an estimated 100 lightning-caused fires across the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in southwest Oregon since Sunday. As a result, the U.S. Forest Service is bringing in additional resources, according to a Monday afternoon news release. Fires are also burning in other parts of the state. The Hendrix fire, which had burned an estimated 170 acres southwest of Ashland as of 3 p.m. Monday, was started by lightning Sunday, according to information from U.S. Forest Service's Facebook page. Nearby, fires in the Wagner Complex also caused by lightning are burning more than 200 acres. The Gravel fire, burning 100 acres just 8 miles northwest of Prospect, Oregon, was caused by lightning Sunday, according to Northwest Interagency Coordination Center. The fire was 0 percent contained Monday. Sunday lightning also started eight new fires in Crater Lake National Park, all a half acre or less in size. The park remains open and visitors are not at risk, according to a Monday evening news release from the park. Also in southwest Oregon, the Canyon Creek fire is burning about four miles south of Canyonville and is estimated to be around eight acres, according to a news release from Douglas Forest Protective Association. Other small fires are also burning in the southwest region. The Collawash fire is a 25-acre wildfire discovered Sunday on the Clackamas River Ranger District of the Mt. Hood National Forest. Crews are making progress in building a line around the fire, according to a news release. Fire danger is high across Mt. Hood National Forest, with high temperatures and low humidity providing fires the possibility to grow fast. No closures are in place but visitors should be cautious when driving in the area. East of Salem, a fire is burning around 27 acres in the southeast corner of Silver Falls State Park. The Silver Creek fire is estimated to be 35 percent contained, according to a Monday afternoon news release. Steep slopes, thick undergrowth and large snags pose challenges for firefighters in the area. No injuries or facility damage have been reported. Smoke was reported Thursday evening and a fire attack was launched Friday, according to the release. In eastern Oregon, the Currey Canyon fire in Malheur County is 50 percent contained with one residence threatened as of Monday morning. It's burned 3,100 acres so far. Firefighters expect to have it fully contained by Friday. In Wheeler County, firefighters have contained the Solitude fire, which started July 8 and burned 708 acres near Spray, Oregon.
Source - News archive

..that ship-emitted particles and increa ...

..that ship-emitted particles and increase lightning?

MODERN, broad-beamed merchant vessels are well able to withstand the rough and tumble of the waves, but sailors still prefer to avoid storms at sea if they can. Containers may come loose in heavy weather and there is always a chance of lightning knocking out communications. It is therefore ironic that some storms may be caused by ships themselves. That, at least, is the conclusion reached by Joel Thornton of the University of Washington, in Seattle, and his colleagues in a paper just published in Geophysical Research Letters. They demonstrate that lightning strikes the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea almost twice as often along shipping lanes as it does other areas of these waters. Dr Thornton and his team considered 1.5bn strikes recorded in this part of the world by the World Wide Lightning Location Network (an international collaboration led by Dr Thornton’s colleague, Robert Holzworth) between 2005 and 2016. As the map shows, those strikes that happened over the ocean were concentrated in places most plied by ships. In particular, the shipping lane that passes from the south of Sri Lanka to the northern entrance of the Straits of Malacca, and thence down the straits to Singapore, positively glows with lightning. (Its westward extension to the Suez canal was outside the study area.) So do the lanes from Singapore and the western part of Malaysia that head north-east across the South China Sea. Neither changes in vertical wind shear nor differences in horizontal air movements seem likely to be causing this concentration of thunderstorms, for other measurements suggest that these weather-modifying phenomena are the same inside shipping lanes as they are in neighbouring parts of the atmosphere immediately outside those lanes. Nor does it seem plausible that the ships themselves (admittedly made of metal, and also the tallest structures on what is otherwise a flat surface) are responsible for attracting all the extra strikes involved. Though the area of the lanes is small compared with the whole ocean, it is vast compared with the area actually occupied by vessels. Most of the extra bolts are hitting the sea rather than craft sailing across it. The most likely explanation is particulate pollution emitted by the ships using the shipping lanes. Marine diesel burned offshore is generally high in sulphur, and its combustion produces soluble oxides of that element which act as nuclei for the condensation of cloud-forming droplets. Typical marine clouds in unpolluted areas are composed of large droplets and do not rise to high altitude, but Dr Thornton and his team reckon that smaller droplets, of the sort that condense around oxides of sulphur, might more easily be carried upward by convection—forming, as they rose, into towering storm clouds that would act as nurseries of lightning bolts. As to what can be done about this extra lightning, change may already be in hand. At the moment, standard “bunker” fuel has an average sulphur content of 2.7%. From 2020 that should fall to 0.5% if refiners and shipowners obey rules being introduced by the International Maritime Organisation, the body responsible for trying to impose order on the world’s shipping. Ships are also being sailed more efficiently, often by slowing them down, which reduces the amount of fuel consumed per nautical mile. That is how Maersk Line—one of the world’s biggest container-ship operators—has cut its fleet’s fuel consumption by 42% since 2007. On top of this, ship propulsion is becoming more efficient, as heat-recycling systems and new types of engine are introduced. In a few decades, therefore, the storminess of shipping lanes may have returned to normal. In the meantime, for any who may doubt humanity’s ability to affect the weather, Dr Thornton’s work provides strong evidence that it can. This article appeared in the Science and technology section of the print edition under the headline "Brimstone and fire"
Source - Did you know archive

Earthquake lightning?

What was that strange light in the sky? Many people overnight reported seeing strange lights in the sky, a phenomenon that has been reported for centuries before, during, and after earthquakes. Seismologists aren't in agreement about the causes of the hotly-debated phenomenon - called earthquake lights or, sometimes, earthquake lightning. And, of course, it's not clear whether the lights overnight in New Zealand were the phenomenon, or something else. One theory suggests dormant electrical charges in rocks are triggered by the stress of the Earth's crust and plate tectonics, transferring the charge to the surface where it appears as light. Historical reports include globes, or orbs, of glowing light, floating just above the ground or in the sky. Much like tidal research, it is an area that is notoriously difficult to investigate. Tidal stresses and their effects on the Earth are minute, but measurable, although many seismologists remain unconvinced by theories of "tidally triggered" earthquakes. With "earthquake light", the phenomenon is also notoriously difficult to observe, study, and measure.​ GNS seismologist Caroline Holden said there were anecdotal reports of lights in the sky. "Unfortunately, we cannot measure this phenomena or its extent with our instruments to provide a clear explanation," she said. The phenomenon has been documented for centuries. Hypotheses have suggested the movement of rocks could generate an electric field, others suggest quakes can lead to rocks conducting electromagnetic energy and a subsequent build up of electric charges in the upper atmosphere. Yet another theory suggests a link between the electric charge, or current, released by the earth ripping and buckling below the surface, and the magnetic properties of rock. The charge appears as light, so the theory goes. People reported similar strange lights in the sky during the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. In 1888, before a large quake around the Hanmer region, a strange glow in the sky was reported by observers. One recent study documented hundreds of sightings of strange light, glowing, and aurora-like reports, from 1600 to the 19th century. The study in the Seismological Research Letters suggested a charge builds up in rock inside the Earth's crust and, as it becomes rapidly unstable in a quake, expands outward. In an earthquake, the electrical charge transfers from below the surface to the surface, or above, depending on the conductivity of the rock - appearing as light. "When such an intense charge state reaches the Earth's surface and crosses the ground–air interface, it is expected to cause [an electric transmission and breakdown] of the air and, hence, an outburst of light. "This process is suspected to be responsible for flashes of light coming out of the ground and expanding to considerable heights at the time when seismic waves from a large earthquake pass by." The study said some seismologists also think the theory could account for other phenomena, such as changes to electrical fields, strange fog, haze, clouds, and low-frequency humming or radio frequency emission. In the study, the researchers found the light was more often associated with a type of quake in which tectonic plates are wrenched apart, known as a "rift" earthquake
Source - Did you know archive

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