How is lightning formed? Please describe the processes step by step.

eg. chrage build up by friction

Expert Answers

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Lightning is defined as "an atomspheric discharge of electricity." There are many factors in generating lightning that we do not completely understand. We know that atmospheric preasure, humidity, cloud make-up, and other factors play an important role in developing lightning. Before we can have lightning, there must be a thunderstorm or cloud formation. Generally, this takes the form of cumulonimbus clouds or super cells, however, it could be an ash cloud over a volcano or other type of cloud. The ions in the earth's surface and those in the cloud repel and attract each other like magnets. During a thunderstorm or other weather event, these ions become out of balance. The lightning strikes are natures way of evening out this imbalance.

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