In the southern United States, an afternoon thunderstorm is part of a regular summer day. But new research shows those storms might be doing more than bringing some scary thunder and lightning.
In fact, these storms are moving significant amounts of mercury to the ground.
In a new study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, Assistant Professor of Meteorology Christopher Holmes writes that thunderstorms have 50 percent higher concentrations of mercury than other rain events.
“The mercury is being transported into our region by winds, and tall thunderstorms are bringing it down to the earth,” Holmes said.
Holmes and a team of researchers collected rain in a variety of locations in Florida, as well as Vermont, Georgia and Wisconsin. They then matched it to weather data that told them whether it was from a thunderstorm or just rain. They also used radar and satellite data to examine storm clouds.
Source: Lightning strikes and thunderstorms are spreading mercury pollution