WWII bombing raids sent shockwaves to the edge of space, study findings show

The findings could help uncover mysterious ways in which natural disasters are affecting the Earth’s atmosphere.

‘The unprecedented power of these attacks has proved useful for scientists to gauge the impact such events can have hundreds of kilometres above the Earth, in addition to the devastation they caused on the ground’ (US Air Force)

Bomb attacks in the Second World War were so intense that they changed the edges of the Earth’s atmosphere, according to a new study.

The fierce bombing campaigns had huge and dramatic effects on the ground below the planes. But at the same time, they changed the boundaries of our atmosphere, rising up to 1000 km into the sky.

New research by the European Geosciences Union claims that shock waves generated by massive bombs weaken the electrified upper atmosphere, known as the ionosphere.

The findings could help shed light on the mysterious ways in which natural phenomena such as lightning, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes alter the same parts of the atmosphere. The ionosphere is important for modern technologies such as radio communications, GPS systems, radio telescopes and some early warning radars – but it is not known exactly how it has changed over time.

“The images of neighborhoods in Europe due to wartime air strikes are a lasting reminder of the devastation that man-made explosions can cause. But the impact of these bombs on the Earth’s atmosphere has never been noticed until now,” said Chris Scott, professor of space and atmospheric physics.


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