For cloud-to-ground lightning, a second process occurs. Positive charges appear on the ground beneath the clouds, and electrical energy is stored in an intense vertical e-field between cloud and ground. The earth is normally negatively charged with respect to the atmosphere. But as the thunderstorm passes over the ground, the negative charges at the bottom of the cumulonimbus cloud cause the positive charges on the ground to gather along the surface for several miles or kilometers around the storm and becomes concentrated in vertical objects including trees and tall buildings. If you feel your hair stand up on end in a lightning storm, beware. The negative charges from the cloud are pulling the positive charges inside your body to the top of your head and you could be in danger of being struck.













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The third process is the generation of the lightning. When sufficient negatives and positives gather in this way, and when the e-field becomes sufficiently strong, an electrical discharge occurs within the clouds or between the clouds and the ground, producing the bolt. During this process, successive portions of air become conductive as the electrons and positive ions of air molecules are pulled away from each other and forced to flow in opposite directions. The conductive filament grows in length. At the same time, electrical energy stored in the e-field flows radially inward into the conductive filament.

Above Images Are From The NOAA














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