Krider, E. Philip Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.
Uman, Martin A. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
Orville, Richard E. Cooperative Institute for Applied Meteorological Studies, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.
Last reviewed:January 2020
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- Lightning between cloud and ground
- Electromagnetic fields
- Triggered lightning
- Positive and negative flashes
- Sprites, elves, and jets
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
An abrupt, high-current electric discharge that occurs in the atmospheres of the Earth and other planets and that has a path length ranging from hundreds of meters to tens of kilometers. Lightning occurs in thunderstorms because vertical air motions and the interactions between cloud particles cause a separation of positive and negative charges (Fig. 1). See also: Atmospheric electricity; The electrical nature of thunderstorms
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