From a children's book:
"In The Legend of Lightning and Thunder, a traditional legend that has been told in the Kivalliq region of Nunavut for centuries, two siblings resort to stealing from their fellow villagers, and inadvertently introduce lightning and thunder into the world. This beautifully illustrated traditional legend weaves together elements of an origin story and a traditional cautionary tale, giving young readers an accessible window into centuries-old Inuit mythology that is specific to the Kivalliq region of Nunavut."
In the Arctic, the harbinger of climate change, anthropogenic global warming is causing another natural phenomenon to occur more frequently (besides coastal erosion, permafrost degradation, wild fires, etc), especially along the northern coasts. In the past, sea water would keep air temperatures too cool for thunderstorms to develop, but this is obviously changing.
Below are excerpts from a blog post by blogger/commenter Apocalypse4Real (who keeps a close eye on methane readings in the Arctic):
Iced Lightning - Lightning Strikes at 80 North
On July 8 and 9, 2016 the National Weather Service published special weather statements regarding the potential for thunderstorms in Barrow, Alaska and on the North Slope. There was not a thunderstorm reported in the media, although on July 10, 2016 there was a cloud to ground strike 15 miles from Barrow.
Curious, I decided to research the background of Arctic Coast or Arctic Ocean thunderstorms, starting with Barrow and Wainwright, Alaska.
Here's what I found, and what came at the end made my jaw drop in regard to lightning strikes and thunderstorms over the Arctic Sea Ice - and the massive changes in the last 16 years of increasing thunderstorm activity over the Arctic Ocean.
The NOAA Center for Environmental Information hosts the Alaska Climatological reports from 1915 to 2015. The following observations of thunder or thunderstorms come from those reports.
- July 8, 1921, Thunder was heard at Barrow, Alaska for the first time in many years. The prior event was not dated.
- July 3, 1931, Thunder was heard again in Barrow Alaska.
- July 8 and 12, 1943: Thunderstorms occurred in Wainwright, Alaska, about 86 miles southwest of Barrow, on the Arctic Ocean, but no report from Barrow.
- July 16, 1950: Wainwright, AK observed a thunderstorm south of the weather station and the report states this is "the farthest north thunderstorm ever reported in the Alaskan Territory."
- July 4, 1952, Wainwright, AK again observed thunder.
- July 22, 1989, Finally, after many years, Barrow experienced thundershowers.
- July 18, 1995, Barrow, after six years, experienced thundershowers.
- June 20, 2000, Barrow had a thunderstorm that received international attention and was misrepresented as the first thunderstorm at Barrow in the most of the media.
The actual June 2000 NOAA report states:
Thundershowers moved through Barrow, AK, on the Arctic coast on the 20th. A rare event- a thunderstorm moved through the Barrow area on the 20th and dropped 0.16 inches of rain in just a couple minutes. Many calls were received at the weather office from people who have just witnessed their first thunderstorm and lightning display ..and what a display it was. According to calls received, Barrow had one of the most exciting events they had ever seen since it was the first for most residents. Thunderstorms and lightning are extremely rare on the north coast of Alaska. This is only the third time a thunderstorm has occurred in Barrow since 1978. The other two events were on July 18, 1995 and July 22, 1989.
Note, the 2000 statement that thunderstorms and lightning were extremely rare on the north coast of Alaska, let alone having thunderstorms over Arctic Ocean sea ice! The Alaska Interagency Coordination Center did have a lightning detection network at the time, but without North Slope sensors. Who thought tundra would really burn?
Read the rest here.