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Absolutely fascinating article from Wired which looks at scientific research into lightning patterns that appears to have established a link between where it strikes and the fuel burn of the global shipping fleet. Researchers investigated why there was twice as much lightning activity in parts of the ocean that also happen to be the world’s busiest maritime trade routes, and the answer lies in the way that lightning forms – “aerosol convective invigoration” – which occurs when there are more particles, such as sulphur dioxide, in the air. And because ships have hitherto been burning high-sulphur fuel, there have been more of those particles in the areas they operate. But with IMO 2020 low-sulphur regulations due on 1 January, researchers believe this trend may about to be reversed.

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