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Shockwaves from WWII air raids rattled edge of space

In addition to the damage they caused to European cities on the ground, the bombs dropped from planes during World War II were powerful enough to disrupt Earth’s electrified upper atmosphere, known as the ionosphere, some 1000 kilometers above. Researchers examined daily records collected by radio operators between 1943 and 1945 to investigate the concentration of charged particles within the upper atmosphere during 152 Allied air raids, Ars Technica reports. The scientists found the concentration of charged particles in the ionosphere dropped significantly during the raids, likely because of the bombs’ shock waves, they report this week in Annales Geophysicae. They estimate each raid released the energy equivalent of at least 300 lightning strikes.

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