Questions tagged [lightning]

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Electric phenomenon when tornado funnel disappears?

A video of a recent tornado in Germany shows two points of glowing light appear at the end of the lifetime of a tornado, when the funnel is already almost entirely retracted. Here is a video link. The ...
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4 votes
0 answers
80 views

Does lightning strike density decrease over cities?

I've been noticing that large (for the northeast US!) lightning storms seem to lose their lightning as they move over downtown Boston. Example gif below (from today, August 19 2021, ~5 am - 11 am ...
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6 votes
1 answer
104 views

Did Dark Lightning turn out to be a real thing? Is this what produces gamma ray flashes from lightning storms?

The Science at NASA video ScienceCasts: Dark Lightning describes observation of gamma rays from Earth by the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. These gamma rays are associated with weather that produces ...
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2 votes
1 answer
37 views

Can a lightning strike ionise the material it strikes?

I know lightning strikes ionise the air, but I'm looking into geology, specifically amethyst, and found that it gets its colour partially from trivalent iron, iron(III), Fe 3+, whatever you want to ...
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0 answers
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Why aren't positive cloud-to-ground lightning strikes associated with the precipitation core of a storm?

My understanding is that positive CG flashes are more common on the leading edge or tail end of a storm, and can be associated with weakening storms. Shouldn't the most powerful lightning strikes (+CG ...
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3 votes
2 answers
106 views

Lightning activity day curve - why it has high and narrow peak?

Atmospheric potential gradient changes during the day, as different areas of lightning activity come under Sun. This illustration from "The Carnegie Curve" by R. Giles Harrison shows ...
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1 answer
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How to measure voltage differential across different altitudes

Imagine two points, one directly above the other ( Point A - 10,000 feet (PA) Point B - 20,000 feet (PB) Imagine there's voltage potential between those two points Q1: How could you measure the ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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Lightning categorization of a high-speed "ball" of light

While driving behind the back side of an intense thunderstorm, I saw a lightning phenomenon I haven't seen before - just a bright blueish light at high speed, following an erratic path, just like the ...
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3 votes
1 answer
89 views

Why does upwards lightning use only one path but downward lightning uses multiple paths?

My question pops-up from this question "Why does lightning strike from the ground-up" which I consider partially unanswered. Why do I consider it partially unanswered? Because only one ...
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5 votes
0 answers
73 views

Earth's Electricity

This question s titled according to of one of the Nikola Tesla's patents. There he stated that lightning generates electric waves in Earth. "In the course of certain investigations which I carried ...
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1 vote
1 answer
254 views

Large Scale lightning Strikes from Cloudless or Near Coudless Skies. How Does it Work?

It is reported in the media that currently in Australia there are dozens of wildfires caused by lightning strikes. I am familiar with the mechanism of ordinary British lightning involving cumulonimbus ...
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3 votes
1 answer
134 views

Why did Hurricane Harvey have so much lightning associated with it?

Hurricane Harvey (Category 4 hurricane, in August 2017) was a prodigious lightning producer when it hit Houston/SE Texas. But I thought hurricanes don't have much lightning (with the eyewall being the ...
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4 votes
2 answers
428 views

Can ionospheric plasma disturbances effect the weather?

I've read about how ionospheric discharges like jets can be initiated/triggered by lightning, and how lightning can propagate upwards from clouds. What I was wondering is if this can happen in ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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Continuous lightning for over an hour; is this phenomenon common and does it have a name?

A few months ago, I witnessed something off the coast of Florida that I have never seen in my life. From my apartment, from about 10PM - 12AM, I saw pretty much continuous cloud to cloud lightning. I ...
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1 vote
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To what extent does lightning produced NOx end up in the atmopsheric boundary layer?

Lightning produced NO$_{x}$ (emitted as NO but quickly converted to NO$_{2}$) can be one of the major sources of atmospheric NO$_{x}$ in the tropics [1]. Estimates of emissions per flash range from 10 ...
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5 votes
0 answers
96 views

What colors can lightning be and what causes the different colors?

I've always thought of lightning as being either bright white or yellow in color. However, in the summer I've also seen lightning appear red as so called "heat lightning". What I'm wondering is what ...
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3 votes
0 answers
143 views

Does lightning release the same electromagnetic emmisions as an arc welder?

Looking at an arc welder is bad, it is a source that emits on a broad range of the electromagnetic spectrum. More specifically the blue and UV are particularly bad for vision: Artificial sources of ...
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3 votes
1 answer
79 views

What voltage and/or amps cannot be found naturally?

Electricity can come in many forms on Earth but when is amps and/or voltage limited physically on Earth? In other words, what voltage arises naturally on Earth?
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8 votes
2 answers
382 views

Are there websites where I can get "lightning frequency maps" in near-real time (worldwide)?

I have an NASA Inspire VLF-3 radio receiver kit that I'm going to put together. It amplifies VLF electromagnetic signals that are already in the audio frequency range and makes them audible. One of ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Where can I find detailed historical breakdowns of U.S. lightning fatalities on a year-by-year basis?

e.g. Something like this, but for historical years (preferably covering 1980-2007, since the NWS detailed lists only start from 2008). Location of strike, victim name, where the victim was at (under ...
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1 vote
1 answer
181 views

What percentage of cumulonimbus clouds create lightning?

I understand that cumulonimbus clouds can create lightning, but do not understand how many of them create lightning. I would assume that most multi-cell systems would have lightning, while single ...
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4 votes
0 answers
47 views

Is archived lightning data from the GOES-16 beta test available?

I was only able to find real-time data. Or do I have to wait until the Geostationary Lightning Mapper is greenlit for production in 2018?
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4 votes
0 answers
39 views

Winter Wheat & Wildfires

TL;DR: How susceptible is winter wheat to wildfire, in the environment that winter wheat is used? The scenario: Shallow water table, a steppe environment, deep-root winter wheat and a HIGH ...
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2 votes
2 answers
89 views

Volcanoes and Lightning [duplicate]

Just wondering about this question has been popped into my head many times and as what I have seen in some volcanic activities that when a volcano erupts there's a lightning, & i don't know if ...
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6 votes
1 answer
833 views

Can a voltage difference precede cloud-to-ground lightning, and can it be measured over a short distance?

I recently heard an anecdote about cloud-to-ground lightning striking an area where some kids were playing 20 seconds prior. They experienced their hair rising which would indicate there is a ...
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11 votes
1 answer
468 views

Photo of sprites in a clear dark sky, how is this possible?

above x2: Photos by David Finlay, from here. The BBC news article Rare 'sprites' photographed beside Southern Lights shows photographs by the Australian photographer David Finlay. They are remarkably ...
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5 votes
1 answer
167 views

Why is thunder and lightning rare, even though it rains frequently?

Why in some places (for example Dublin, Ireland) the thunder and lightning is such a rare thing even though it rains so frequently?
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8 votes
1 answer
260 views

What is the best way to stay safe while photographing lightning storms?

Occasionally, I go out with my camera and tripod and capture cumulonimbus clouds from distance. Sometimes I am worried when I hear thunder that I could be hit by a lightning bolt. I have seen several "...
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3 votes
2 answers
843 views

Why don't lightning strikes cause a lot of injury or damage to property?

We hear about people being injured or killed, or property being damaged or destroyed, by flash floods all the time. Or by straight line winds. Or by hail. Or by tornadoes. Why not lightning?
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4 votes
0 answers
1k views

Are there places with rain and snow but no lightning and thunder?

I've been in Ukraine (Kiev) in the winter, and this winter was snowy and rainy but still I've never seen or listened there neither lightning nor thunders. What is the explanation for that? I thought ...
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1 vote
0 answers
63 views

What triggers the formation of channels of ionized air for lightning strikes to occur?

I apologize for the lack of foundational knowledge underlying this question. At wikipedia it is stated Initiation of the outward leaders is not well understood. The electric field strength ...
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4 votes
1 answer
269 views

What is the core of the lightning?

The post Lightning mentions about "the core of a lightning bolt": The core of a lightning bolt is a few centimeters in diameter. I couldn't find any article discussing about this. The reference ...
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6 votes
1 answer
577 views

How are lightning and thunderstorm intensity linked?

I have lightning data that contains individual strikes and their location, time, polarity, amplitude and type (cloud-to-ground, intracloud). I am trying to develop some metrics that will help me ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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Beam of light coming from otherwise cloudly [closed]

I was viewing Google Street View and saw an oddly shaped line of light coming from the clouds. How did this happen? It probably couldn't be lightning as it appeared over multiple images and is too ...
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1 vote
0 answers
359 views

What causes lightning to be a different color above the clouds than below the clouds?

Recently, I was flying out of the midwest during a lightning storm, and I was able to see lightning both above and below the clouds. I noticed that the lightning below the clouds was orangish/...
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3 votes
1 answer
214 views

Are clouds needed for lightning?

In big clouds of water vapor their could raise a difference in charges high and low in the clouds but is it necessary that there are clouds? Could there be lightning just with airstreams which create ...
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8 votes
2 answers
388 views

Is Cape Canaveral really the lightning capital of the US?

Today's SpaceX webcast featured an interesting quote, that Cape Canaveral is the lightning capital of the US. Is that really the case? If not, how does it compare in lightning strikes to other areas ...
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2 votes
2 answers
6k views

Should I worry about copper pipe outside attracting lightning strikes?

I used some copper pipe outside to string some decorative lights up higher in my yard. I used the copper because I thought it would be pretty and patina nice. Then I remembered that copper is a good ...
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2 votes
0 answers
439 views

Where does lightning strike?

While watching lightning activity in the sky from afar, a natural curiosity welled within me. What are the exact locations where those lightning bolts strike? All these questions appear because of my ...
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7 votes
1 answer
3k views

How to count lightning in a thunderstorm?

Is there an accurate way to count the amount of lightning happening in a thunderstorm? How is lightning measured? Is there a special unit for this?
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12 votes
2 answers
5k views

Weak flashes of light in the sky

On a recent, late-evening flight from New York City to San Fransisco, I was seated on the right side of the plane. We were flying over lake Michigan - about 2 hours into the flight. When we were over ...
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20 votes
3 answers
1k views

Why does Volcano Lightning occur?

There are many pictures I've seen of lightning coming out of the plume of smoke caused by a volcano (Often called 'Volcano Lightning'). Example: Why does this happen?
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13 votes
1 answer
1k views

Cloud-to-ground lightning in Florida?

I was looking into the odds of getting hit by lightning and ran across this map: My first thought for this was due to a higher number of thunderstorms in Florida. However, the map for that doesn't ...
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61 votes
6 answers
464k views

Why does lightning strike from the ground-up?

The enlightening image below is of a lightning strike slowed down at 10,000 frames per second. It can be seen that the most intense flash produced from the lightening occurs in the direction from ...
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23 votes
1 answer
2k views

What causes 'positive' lightning to be rarer, higher charged, and longer lasting than 'negative' lightning?

Why is 'positive' lightning rarer, brighter, higher charged, and longer lasting than 'negative' lightning? Are there any other unique characteristics to positive lightning that sets it apart from ...
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