A very interesting topic was introduced at recent IEEE Surge Protective Device Committee meetings, that being will climate change cause more intense lightning strikes and more frequent lightning occurrences. Studies are being conducted across the globe by research, academic and government institutions to determine if this may indeed hold true in our future. Much of the concern has been considering the impact of more severe thunderstorms causing even more natural wildfires which seem to have become more prevalent. Another consequence is resiliency and reliability of the electric power grid. As there is much more work to be done on this topic, thus far some simulations project a 28% increase in cloud-to-ground lightning strikes (that’s nearly 8 flashes per second). Key parameters include humidity, vapor pressure, air temperature and air moisture trends by geographic location which indicated North America and Europe being most at risk. We already know the importance of installing Surge Protective Devices (SPD) to mitigate the risk of critical operations equipment from damage and disruption. It can only be surmised that the potential risks will remain and potentially increase with the need for more robust surge protective devices and multi-stage deployment strategies of SPD’s to keep facilities operational. We will follow this topic as more information becomes available … stay tuned.

References Perez-Invernon, F.J., Gordillo-Vasquez, F.J., Huntriesser, H. et al. Variations of lightning-ignited wildfire patterns under climate change. Nature Communications. Vol 14. February 10, 2023.