Cause and effects of lightning Essay.

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meteorology paper on The cause and effect of lightning



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Lightening is simply more than the split of light seen in the sky whenever there are weather changes. Lightning has been a major topic in meteorology for centuries. As it will be illustrated here, lightning is formed by changes in electrical properties of a mixture of water and air. Lightning has far reaching effects ranging from simple ones such as frightening children, to devastating ones such as causing fires, striking people to death, and blowing electrical appliances.


Formation of Lightening

In the process of water cycle, water molecules reaching the atmosphere come together to form a cloud. As the evaporation and condensation processes continue, the rising water vapor may collide with the precipitation descending from the sky. In the course of these collisions, electrons get knocked off the rising moisture causing a separation of charges. The knocked off electrons always gather at the lowest point of the cloud inducing a negative charge. The rising moisture, having lost electrons on the other hand carries a positive charge to the top point of the cloud. The charge separation on the cloud comes with an electric field. This field possesses same charge characteristics as the cloud – positive at the upper region and negative at the bottom. The amount of charges in the clouds builds up, the intensity of the electric field builds up to the point that the electrons on the earth’s surface are repelled deeper and deeper into the ground; this leaves a strong positive charge at the surface of the earth (Rakov & Uman, 2006)..  As the process continues, the electric field between the earth and the clouds accumulates to mega volts per inch; conditions that are adequate for the air to start breaking down. The surrounding air splits into positive and negative ions which move about in the air freely and randomly. The ionized air creates plasma with conductivity, at the end of the ionization process; an n electron path is created between the clouds and the earth creating lightning (ibid).

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