Williams, Earle R. Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Center for Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- Electrical structure of thunderclouds
- Mechanisms for charge separation
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Processes responsible for the separation of positive and negative electric charges in the atmosphere during storms, including the spectacular manifestation of this charge separation: lightning discharges. Cloud electrification is almost always associated with convective activity and with the formation of precipitation in the form of liquid water (rain) and ice particles (graupel and hail). The most vigorous convection and active lightning occurs in the summertime, when the energy source for convection, water vapor, is most prevalent. Winter snowstorms can also be strongly electrified, but they produce far less lightning than summer storms. Clouds that exhibit electrification and lightning have depths ranging from about 4 to 20 km (2.4 to 12 mi) and greater for the largest thunderstorms. Electrified storm clouds occasionally occur in complete isolation; more commonly they are found in convective clusters or in lines that may extend horizontally for hundreds of kilometers. See also: Lightning; Precipitation (meteorology)
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 9000 highly qualified scientists and 43 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information