THUNDER AND LIGHTNING
We have all seen tall, dark puffy clouds forming on a hot humid afternoon. These are cumulonimbus clouds, sometimes nicknamed "thunderheads." They can actually form any time of day when the temperature falls rapidly higher up in the sky. These tall dark clouds are full of moisture and contain strong up and down air currents. Cumulonimbus clouds may tower more than 50,000 feet, and cover from just a few square miles up to two hundred square miles.
Why do thunderstorms rarely occur over open seas: Most thunderstorms (accompanied by lightning) occur over land. They are much rarer at sea. The requirements for developing one include, not only unstable air mass, but also a little "push" from somewhere to initiate updrafts. On land, these little pushes are easy enough to come by: the ground, overheated by the Sun, increases the instability of the air mass, or a high landmass forces the air to rise. This cannot happen over the open sea.
What is Lightning: To put it simply, lightning is electricity. It forms in the strong up-and-down air currents inside tall dark cumulonimbus clouds as water droplets, hail and ice crystals collide with one another. Scientists believe that these collisions build up charges of electricity in the cloud. The positive and negative electrical charges in the cloud separate from one another, the negative charges dropping to the lower part of the cloud and the positive charges staying ins the middle and upper parts. Positive electrical charges also build upon the ground below. When the difference in the charges becomes large enough, a flow of electricity moves from the cloud down to the ground or from one part of the cloud to another, or from one cloud to another cloud. In typical lightning these are down-flowing negative charges, and when the positive charges on the ground leap upward to meet them, the jagged downward path of the negative charges suddenly lights up with a brilliant flash of light. Because of this, our eyes fool us into thinking that the lightning bolt shoots down from the cloud, when in fact the lightning travels up from the ground. In some cases, positive charges come to the ground from severe thunderstorms or from the anvil at the very top of a thunderstorm cloud. The whole process takes less than a millionth of a second.
Kinds of Lightning: There are words to describe different kinds of lightning. Here are some of them:
ALL IN ALL AN INCREDIBLE PHENOMENON, A SHOW OF NATURES STRENGTH