Eli5: how does thunder and lightning happen?


Eli5: how does thunder and lightning happen?

In: 7

The earth is like – and a buncha particles in the sky rub together and become + and then the difference causes 😡 which is loud

Thunder is the sound created when warm and cold air collides in a spectacular fashion. Lightning is a discharge of the static energy present when those air masses collide.

That’s what my momma taught me, anyway. Sounds reasonable.

Basically, the ice crystals in a thunderstorm rub up against each other and generate a massive static charge. Once this static charge becomes large enough, it discharges to the earth. Thunder happens because the air gets superheated and essentially explodes when the lightning discharges, generating a shockwave which you hear as the thunder.

Thunder and lightning happen when there is a buildup of electrical energy in the atmosphere during a storm. The storm clouds move around and create friction between each other, which causes the buildup of this electrical energy.

When the electrical energy becomes too strong, it is discharged in the form of lightning. Lightning is a giant spark that travels between the negatively charged bottom of the cloud and the positively charged ground.

The air around the lightning bolt heats up very quickly and expands rapidly, creating a shock wave that we hear as thunder. This is why we see the lightning first and then hear the thunder a few seconds later.

Lightning is basically static electricity between particles in clouds.

Normally the air/atmosphere is an insulator and doesn’t allow current to flow. During a storm that produces lightning the voltage increases and starts to turn the air into plasma, which is conductive. Typically the biggest difference in charge is between the storm (-) and the ground (+), so the strike typically goes from the storm to the ground.

Thunder is the result of lightning. Basically it rapidly makes the air hotter and increases the pressure causing the air to expand quickly. The expansion of air is the sound of thunder.