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Influence of the COVID-19 lockdown on lightning activity in the Po Valley
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  • Francisco J. Pérez-Invernón,
  • Heidi Huntrieser,
  • Francisco Gordillo-Vázquez,
  • Sergio Soler
Francisco J. Pérez-Invernón
Deutsche Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Heidi Huntrieser
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)
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Francisco Gordillo-Vázquez
Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía
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Sergio Soler
Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (CSIC)
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The relationship between aerosol concentration and lightning is complex. Aerosols can act as cloud condensation nuclei, contributing to the formation of cloud droplets, cloud electrification and lightning, while high concentrations of aerosols can contribute to a decrease in lightning due to radiative effects. Meteorology plays a dominant role in lightning activity, distorting the effect of aerosols. More measurements, as presented here, are needed to establish the complex relationship between aerosols and lightning.
The Po Valley, a heavily industrialized region, was highly affected by the COVID-19 lockdown. The reduction of non-essential activities and mobility coincided with a significant drop in pollutant concentrations and lightning. We investigate the relationship between lightning, meteorology and aerosols. We find that the variation in lightning during the lockdown cannot be fully attributed to meteorology. $\sim$60\% of the observed decrease can be attributed to meteorology, and $\sim$40\% to the reduction in aerosol emissions.