Does air pollution play a role in thunderstorm electrification? Pollution from car and bus exhaust, cooling systems, generators, and other engine activity injects billions of small particles into the urban atmosphere. These particulates or aerosols can be caught in the rising air produced by the urban heat island and lifted into developing thunderstorms. The importance of these aerosols in thunderstorm development and lightning modification is currently not well understood; however, evidence suggests that their presence can alter how thunderstorms intensify. Our methods, developed by incorporating innovative data mining techniques and geospatial analysis, aim to discover the contribution of aerosols on thunderstorm intensity and electrification.  

                               Funded by the National Science Foundation

Photo by Cody Troyer


The investigators working on this project each have specific roles based upon their background and experience. The multi-disciplinary nature of the research provides a cohesive framework to explore connections between the geographic, atmospheric, and computer sciences.  


For you to explore…

Award-winning JMU Geography program earns NSF 

support for lightning study (READ)

NSF to fund two-year lightning study at JMU (READ)

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