Where Does Lightning Strike?
Lightning will not strike unless there certain conditions are met. Lightning is a circuit, for it to strike
the circuit must be complete or the energy will just keep moving without going anywhere or doing anything. To
close the circuit, there are three places that lightning may strike.
- 1. Within the cloud
- Lightning does happen without us always seeing it. When the difference between the positive electrons in the
upper part of the cloud and the negative electrons in the lower part is great enough, a discharge of energy in the
form of electricity will take place and lightning strikes within the cloud.
- 2. From one cloud to another
- Again, when the difference of charges is great enough there will be a stroke of lightning to equalize the difference
and regain equilibrium. In this situation, the charge difference is too great between adjacent clouds and the stroke
- 3. From a cloud to Earth.
- Earth must obtain a charge before it can be the circuit connector for the process of lightning. This happens
when a cloud above Earth's surface passes over and alters the charge of the ground. Earth acquires a positive charge
from the passing cloud(s) and can then close the circuit; lightning strikes through the sky, from the cloud to the
ground, completing the circuit. (Also see Electricity)
When Does Lightning Occur and Why?
The Cloud to Ground Striking Process
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