This article reports an enhancement in lightning activity in the city of Manaus, located in the central part of the largest tropical forest in the world, and shows strong evidence that it is related to the urban heat island effect. This is the first evidence that urban effects play a significant role even in the Amazon rainforest. The effect of the urbanization on lightning activity has a potential impact on climate changes.
The subject is of general interest since the effects of urbanization on climate has received an increasing attention in the climate change research. Urbanization has an increasing contribution to anthropogenic climate forcing, since more than half of the world’s
population lives in urban regions, and this proportion is expected to go up to more than 60 percent by 2030. At the same time, the Amazon region is one of the three “lightning chimneys” of the world, so that any effect observed in this region may have a direct influence on the global lightning activity and, in consequence, on the climate system.