A Good Question about lightning?

Question by Jonathan W: A Good Question about lightning?
I Was wondering why lightning only strikes when it rains. How come it cant strike when ever there isnt a cloud or any thunderstorms around.

Best answer:

Answer by Phillis
You need the clouds bcs they slide past eachother causing an electric charge it doesnt necesarily have to be raining for lightning to strike. It can even happen during a sunny day if their are some clouds.

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2 Responses to “A Good Question about lightning?”

  • Eric P says:

    Lightning doesn’t require rain, but it does require the up and downdrafts of unstable air to generate the electrical charge, similarly to the belt of a Van de Graaff generator.

    Rain is often a result of an updraft. The air cools as it rises and is no longer able to hold as much moisture. If the air is dry, however, it can rise in an updraft without producing rain and still generate the static electricity for a lightning discharge.

    Clear skies are usually high-pressure air without much upward or downward motion so they don’t generate enough static electricity for a lightning discharge.

    An updraft strong enough to cause a lightning discharge also usually produces clouds as water vapor condenses out of the rising air.

  • Kyle Mould says:

    Lightning is caused by an oxidisation reaction of particulate matter in the clouds. An updraft caused by low pressure causes rain droplets to collide, which knocks off electrons at the molecular level. This causes a charge separation of charge in the cloud, with an overall negative charge. The Earth is generally positively charged, so the air in-between the cloud and the earth becomes ionised, meaning that it can carry an electric charge, which is then seen as lightning.

    In clouds, the particular matter needed is minuscule droplets of water or ice, depending on the altitude, but water is not the only matter than can create lightning, the same thing happens in the ash clouds of volcanoes.

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