The sight and sound of thunder and lightning usually mean the beginning of Spring. Some places it could mean the start of a hurricane.
Mythology and Stories
From the beginning, parents have tried to explain lightning. Whether it is religious ideas or made up stories to calm fears, some of the stories can be quite fun. A Viking Norse story is of Thor the God of Thunder and Lightning, with his trusty hammer, Mjolnir. There’s an Indian story about an old sheep and her son a ram. Sometimes resorting to ways to explain why things happen is how our brains help cope.
The Science behind Lightning
Lightning all starts with the Water Cycle. The water cycle begins with the heat from the sun causing water to evaporate in the air. That evaporation forms clouds. When the clouds get full, they end up releasing the moisture. After that, the cycle begins again.
So, when does it start to become thunder and lightning?
The correct environment must come together to create lightning. Lightning first must start with wind. Clouds have positive and negative charges in them. As the wind brings in updrafts, it separates the two charges. The positive charges go to the top of the cloud. Negative charges move to the bottom of the cloud.
Positive and negative charges are attracted to each other. On the ground, beneath the cloud, everything becomes positively charged. Towers, trees, buildings, really anything on the ground. The negative charges in the lower part become attracted to the positive charges on the ground. For safety reasons, you don’t go to a high place. A lot of tall buildings have a lightning rod on top of the building. The lightning rod takes a good portion of the strike. Therefore, preventing too much damage to the building.
Here is a YouTube video of how Lightning works from Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
For more information on Lightning visit us at WeatherEgg.
Resource: https://pmm.nasa.gov/education/water-cycle, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cz_uYBx1G5s, https://norse-mythology.org/gods-and-creatures/the-aesir-gods-and-goddesses/thor/, http://mocomi.com/indian-folk-tales-the-story-of-the-lightning-and-the-thunder/
Image Source: Featured Image Photo by Rustling Leaf Designs (Scott Stringham)