The electrical nature of thunderstorms
MacGorman, Donald R. National Severe Storms Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Norman, Oklahoma.
- Processes electrifying storms
- Typical gross distribution of charge in thunderstorms
- Additional electrical properties of storms
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Although lightning had long been a subject of myth and speculation, it was not until electricity was discovered that natural philosophy could start developing a scientific understanding of lightning and the electrical properties of thunderstorms. Beginning with experiments proposed by Benjamin Franklin in the eighteenth century, scientists soon learned that lightning is a giant spark, that thunderstorms contain charge, and that weak electric currents flow vertically through the atmosphere in fair weather. Little more was learned about lightning and atmospheric electricity for over a hundred years, while scientists were learning about electricity and magnetism.
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