CAUSE OF LIGHTNING- Sambal member upload

Lightning requires the separation of different charges into different regions of a cloud. We don’t know for certain, but we observe this. Lightning only occurs in cold clouds with supercooled droplets.

BY: AKSHAY SINGHAL
Organization: CENTRAL UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH BIHAR
Original Source / Author: Prof. E.P. Krider 08 Jan, 2018

When the positive and negative charges grow large enough, a giant spark - lightning - occurs between the two charges within the cloud. This is like a static electricity sparks you see, but much bigger. Most lightning happens inside a cloud, but sometimes it happens between the cloud and the ground. 

Lighting originates when wind updrafts and downdrafts take place in the atmosphere, creating a charging mechanism that separates electric charges in clouds – leaving negative charges at the bottom and positive charges at the top. As the charge at the bottom of the cloud keeps growing, the potential difference between cloud and ground, which is positively charged, grows as well.

When a breakdown at the bottom of the cloud creates a pocket of positive charge, an electrostatic discharge channel forms and begins traveling downwards in steps tens of meters in length. In the case of IC or CC lightning, this channel is then drawn to other pockets of positive charges regions. In the case of CG strikes, the stepped leader is attracted to the positively charged ground.

Many factors affect the frequency, distribution, strength and physical properties of a "typical" lightning flash in a particular region of the world. These include ground elevation, latitude, prevailing wind currents, relative humidity, proximity to warm and cold bodies of water, etc. To a certain degree, the ratio between IC, CC and CG lightning may also vary by season in middle latitudes.

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