Lightning flashes illuminate storm behavior

Anybody who has ever tried to photograph lightning knows that it takes patience and special camera equipment. Now, a new study is using those brief but brilliant flashes to illuminate cloud structures and shed light on storm ...

Lightning 'superbolts' form over oceans from November to February

The lightning season in the Southeastern U.S. is almost finished for this year, but the peak season for the most powerful strokes of lightning won't begin until November, according to a newly published global survey of these ...

Tornado hits Luxembourg, injuring 19, damages 100 homes

A rare tornado injured 19 people, two of them severely, in Luxembourg, while 15 soccer players were injured by a lightning strike in southern Germany as unseasonal storms hit northern Europe late Friday.

Researchers connect lightning with gamma-ray phenomena in clouds

University of Tokyo graduate student Yuuki Wada with colleagues from Japan have discovered a connection between lightning strikes and two kinds of gamma-ray phenomena in thunderclouds. The research suggests that in certain ...

Tiny Australia bird stalls divisive coal mine project

A tiny finch flew into the centre of Australia's bitter environmental politics Friday when local authorities blocked the construction of a contentious coal mine until the rare bird is protected.

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Lightning

Lightning is an atmospheric discharge of electricity accompanied by thunder, which typically occurs during thunderstorms, and sometimes during volcanic eruptions or dust storms. In the atmospheric electrical discharge, a leader of a bolt of lightning can travel at speeds of 60,000 m/s (130,000 mph), and can reach temperatures approaching 30,000 °C (54,000 °F), hot enough to fuse silica sand into glass channels known as fulgurites which are normally hollow and can extend some distance into the ground. There are some 16 million lightning storms in the world every year.

Lightning can also occur within the ash clouds from volcanic eruptions, or can be caused by violent forest fires which generate sufficient dust to create a static charge.

How lightning initially forms is still a matter of debate: Scientists have studied root causes ranging from atmospheric perturbations (wind, humidity, friction, and atmospheric pressure) to the impact of solar wind and accumulation of charged solar particles. Ice inside a cloud is thought to be a key element in lightning development, and may cause a forcible separation of positive and negative charges within the cloud, thus assisting in the formation of lightning.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA