What is lightning?

June 23, 2015 1:01 PM |

What is lightningLightning, as we see, is a bright flash of electricity coming down from the sky. It is generally produced by a thunderstorm. At times, lightning can have dangerous consequences. In fact, every year lightning kills and injures a lot of people.

According to latest satellite data, every day more than 3 million lightning flashes worldwide. Or else we could also say that we receive more than 30 flashes per second on average.

What is Thunder?

A single lightning flash releases as much energy as blowing up a ton of TNT (a chemical compound Trinitrotoluene, popularly known as a useful explosive material). This energy heats up the air channel by thousands of degree centigrade, in a fraction of a second. Air does not get time to heat up that fast and thus, pressure is built up. This pressure compresses adjoining areas, which give rise to shockwaves known as thunder.

How does lightning form?

Within a cloud, water and ice keep moving around. They are forced up by warm air currents, pulled down by gravity, and compressed inside the cloud. This creates static electricity and the whole cloud slowly fills up with electrical charges. These charges get separated in the cloud. As in, the positive charges or protons move up to the top of the cloud, and the negative charges or electrons go down to the bottom of the cloud.

Since opposites attract, positive charges build up on the ground beneath the cloud.

The electrical charges concentrate around any pointed object like the mountain, people, or tree. Whenever, the charge coming up from these points connects with a charge reaching down from the clouds, lightning strikes.

We all know that light travels faster than sound. Light travels about 300 million metres per second, while sound travels at a mere speed of 300 metres per second. Thus, light is a million times faster than sound. If a thunderstorm is 1 mile away, there will be a gap of 4 seconds between the flash and the rumble. Therefore, every time we see a flash, we may not hear a thunder. Lightning flashes can be seen from far off places, but the thunder might die down before reaching us.

Interesting facts about Lightning:

• At any given time, over 2,000 thunderstorms occur worldwide. Each of them produce over a 100 lightning per second on an average.

• Or else we could also say that every day more than 8 million lightning flashes worldwide.

• That’s over 8 million lightning bolts every day.

• Each lightning bolt is about 3 miles long and a centimeter wide.

• A lightning bolt discharges 1 to 10 billion joules of energy.

• 'Fulminology' is the study of lightning and 'Astraphobia' is the fear of thunder and lightning.

Image credit - vak1969.com



For accurate weather forecast and updates, download Skymet Weather (Android App | iOS App) App.

Weather Forecast

Other Latest Stories

Weather on Twitter
#Hindi: 23 नवंबर का मौसम पूर्वानुमान: पहाड़ी राज्यों में बारिश और बर्फबारी, दिल्ली में बढ़ेगा प्रदूषण का स्तरI… t.co/0vaxi8wM3h
Friday, November 22 21:30Reply
#CycloneVardah, which formed in 2016 had a very long sea travel, about ten days or so. t.co/vRvJ7Auues
Friday, November 22 20:20Reply
#CycloneYemyin is one of the rare ones to make landfall over both eastern part of #India and western side of… t.co/j5KRmUc4Pd
Friday, November 22 20:10Reply
Normally, #cyclones follow a predicted track. However, there are a few whose tracks are unusual and indifferent. So… t.co/saNevKeRB6
Friday, November 22 20:00Reply
#Hindi: अगले 24 घंटों के दौरान, उत्तर-पश्चिमी इलाकों में मौसम शुष्क रहेगा। हालांकि, 25 नवंबर से पंजाब, हरियाणा, दि… t.co/2rvyZNzg0h
Friday, November 22 19:26Reply
According to World Health Organization ( WHO ), the residents of #Delhi are expected to live 17 years less than the… t.co/XEzRdThUEV
Friday, November 22 19:00Reply
The Northeasterly winds are blowing over the coastal stations of #TamilNadu. Due to this, south coastal parts of Ta… t.co/RPn3OZjSWV
Friday, November 22 18:22Reply
#DelhiPollution: your room’s air can be more polluted than the air outside. Considering the time, we spend indoors,… t.co/aKC8rHJPU8
Friday, November 22 17:37Reply
With variable winds blowing over #Delhi, the #pollution levels have risen and are in very poor to severe category.… t.co/67WmIAib6H
Friday, November 22 17:18Reply

latest news

Skymet weather

Download the Skymet App

Our app is available for download so give it a try