Climate Futures researchers, Nick Earl, Peter Love, Rebecca Harris and Tom Remenyi published an article in The Conversation explaining the significance of “dry lightning” as a cause of recent bushfires in Tasmania.
Research has found that as climate change creates a drier Tasmania landscape, dry lightning – and therefore these kinds of fires – are likely to increase.
Lightning has always started fires across Tasmania, and fires are natural processes in some places. However, frequent large, intense fires have, historically, been rare in Tasmania. Now such fires are being fought almost every year. Under climate change, landscapes have dried out to the extent that lightning strikes can ignite large fires – and this is now happening even in areas that were previously too wet to burn.