Why lightning strikes twice as often over shipping lanes

Lightning blazes across the night sky.

Enlarge (credit:
John Fowler / Flickr

For all the progress humanity has made since Odysseus had a spot
of trouble on a long voyage home, life on the high seas remains a
largely joyless affair. Twenty-first-century sailors spend weeks
away from home. The hours are long,
the pay mediocre
, the
risk of calamity
never quite over the horizon. And, researchers
have recently learned, these men and women face a problem not even
the King of Ithaca had to deal with: unnaturally large amounts of
lightning. Turns out that along some of the world’s busiest
shipping lanes, lightning strikes are twice as common as they are
in nearby areas with similar climatic conditions.

As usual in such stories, the blame doesn’t fall on a riled up
Olympian. It goes to the hubris of humans who, in this case,
thought their ships could burn filthy fuel without any judgement
raining down.

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Source: FS – All – Science – News
Why lightning strikes twice as often over shipping lanes