[citation needed] However, it can also occur during dust storms, forest fires, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, and even in the cold of winter, where the lightning is known as thundersnow. [44], There are six different mechanisms theorized to result in the formation of positive lightning. [77][78] Due to their metallic fuselages, aircraft are highly susceptible to lightning strikes, though it does not cause much harm to the aircraft or its passengers, aside from a small hole in the wings. [28] Percolation theory, especially for the case of biased percolation,[29][clarification needed] describes random connectivity phenomena, which produce an evolution of connected structures similar to that of lightning strikes. CG is the least common, but best understood of all types of lightning. Lightning streaks inside a cloud, between clouds, and from clouds to the ground. In the tropics, where the freezing level is generally higher in the atmosphere, only 10% of lightning flashes are CG. The average American has about a 1 in 5,000 chance of being struck by lightning during a lifetime. Such step potentials will often flow through one leg and out another, electrocuting an unlucky human or animal standing near the point where the lightning strikes. This is known as an image charge. [41], Since recoil and dart leader processes do not occur on negative leaders, subsequent return strokes very seldom utilize the same channel on positive ground flashes which are explained later in the article.[40]. [134] In the traditional religion of the African Bantu tribes, lightning is a sign of the ire of the gods. When a stepped leader approaches the ground, the presence of opposite charges on the ground enhances the strength of the electric field. Although in the minority on Earth, superbolts appear to be common on Jupiter. Some types of lightning, including the most common types, never leave the clouds but travel between differently charged areas within or between clouds. [132], Due to the low resolution of global climate models, accurately representing lightning in these climate models is difficult, largely due to their inability to simulating the convection and cloud ice imperative which are fundamental to lightning formation. These include the Greek god Zeus, the Aztec god Tlaloc, the Mayan God K, Slavic mythology's Perun, the Baltic Pērkons/Perkūnas, Thor in Norse mythology, Ukko in Finnish mythology, the Hindu god Indra, and the Shinto god Raijin. On Earth, the lightning frequency is approximately 44 (± 5) times per second, or nearly 1.4 billion flashes per year[13] and the average duration is 0.2 seconds made up from a number of much shorter flashes (strokes) of around 60 to 70 microseconds.[14]. Lightning has been observed within the atmospheres of other planets, such as Jupiter and Saturn. The ash density and constant motion within the volcanic plume produces charge by frictional interactions (triboelectrification), resulting in very powerful and very frequent flashes as the cloud attempts to neutralize itself. Cooler air is drawn in by this turbulent, rising air, helping to cool the plume. [139] The lightning bolt is a common insignia for military communications units throughout the world. Because the electrostatic discharge of terrestrial lightning superheats the air to plasma temperatures along the length of the discharge channel in a short duration, kinetic theory dictates gaseous molecules undergo a rapid increase in pressure and thus expand outward from the lightning creating a shock wave audible as thunder. This effect is known as lightning-induced remanent magnetism, or LIRM. [8][9] Hurricanes typically generate some lightning, mainly in the rainbands as much as 160 km (99 mi) from the center.[10][11][12]. The rate at which the return stroke current travels has been found to be around 100,000 km/s (one-third of the speed of light).[37]. A flash preceding thunder by five seconds would indicate a distance of approximately 1.7 km or 1.1 mi (5 × 343 m). Due to the extensive solid material (ash) content, unlike the water rich charge generating zones of a normal thundercloud, it is often called a dirty thunderstorm. Rakov, M.A. The massive flow of electric current occurring during the return stroke combined with the rate at which it occurs (measured in microseconds) rapidly superheats the completed leader channel, forming a highly electrically conductive plasma channel. This occurs from both the mixture of warmer and colder air masses, as well as differences in moisture concentrations, and it generally happens at the boundaries between them. Lightning on Venus has been a controversial subject after decades of study. A large electric charge flows along the plasma channel, from the cloud to the ground, neutralising the positive ground charge as electrons flow away from the strike point to the surrounding area. [Matthew 24:27][Luke 17:24]. The overall discharge termed a flash, is composed of a number of processes such as preliminary breakdown, stepped leaders, connecting leaders, return strokes, dart leaders, and subsequent return strokes. All rights reserved. Since various factors alter the probability of strikes at any given location, repeat lightning strikes have a very low probability (but are not impossible). But if we are to dig deeper, we are to find that lightning really comes from lightning bugs. When it occurs between two separate clouds, it is known as cloud-to-cloud (CC) or inter-cloud lightning; when it occurs between areas of differing electric potential within a single cloud, it is known as intra-cloud (IC) lightning. The initiation of a downward positive branch from an IC lightning flash. Lightning occurs frequently and more so in specific areas. In addition, there is a small but important positive charge buildup near the bottom of the thunderstorm cloud due to the precipitation and warmer temperatures. These discharges normally originate from the tops of very tall structures, such as communications antennas. On average, this region receives 158 lightning strikes per square kilometre per year (410/sq mi/yr). The Unicode symbol for lightning is ☇ U+2607. The bolt of lightning in heraldry is called a thunderbolt and is shown as a zigzag with non-pointed ends. In general, cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning flashes account for only 25% of all total lightning flashes worldwide. As lightning travels through sandy soil, the soil surrounding the plasma channel may melt, forming tubular structures called fulgurites. As a result of their greater power, positive lightning strikes are considerably more dangerous than negative strikes. The expression "Lightning never strikes twice (in the same place)" is similar to "Opportunity never knocks twice" in the vein of a "once in a lifetime" opportunity, i.e., something that is generally considered improbable. IC lightning most commonly occurs between the upper anvil portion and lower reaches of a given thunderstorm. Lightning occurs commonly during thunderstorms and other types of energetic weather systems, but volcanic lightning can also occur during volcanic eruptions. The German word Blitzkrieg, which means "lightning war", was a major offensive strategy of the German army during World War II. The larger and denser graupel is either suspended in the middle of the thunderstorm cloud or falls toward the lower part of the storm. [113], The movement of electrical charges produces a magnetic field (see electromagnetism). [84][85], A number of observations by space-based telescopes have revealed even higher energy gamma ray emissions, the so-called terrestrial gamma-ray flashes (TGFs). Each lightning flash in temperate and sub-tropical areas produces 7 kg of NOx on average. Homes may also be inadvertently grounded by plumbing, gutters, or other materials. Although more common, intra-cloud (IC) and cloud-to-cloud (CC) flashes are very difficult to study given there are no "physical" points to monitor inside the clouds. Lightning's extreme heat will vaporize the water inside a tree, creating steam that may blow the tree apart. Electrons accelerate rapidly as a result in a zone beginning at the point of attachment, which expands across the entire leader network at up to one third of the speed of light. Lightning causes thunder, a sound from the shock wavewhich develops as gases i… Despite the popular misconception that these are positive lightning strikes due to them seemingly originating from the positive charge region, observations have shown that these are in fact negative flashes.

where does lightning come from

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