Thursday, June 18, 2009

What causes lightning?

How lightning works
As summer thunderstorms loom across the U.S., MNN sheds some light on lightning -- one of the deadliest and least-understood weather events on Earth.

Lightning is the weapon of choice for discerning deities. Whether you're Zeus, Thor or Tlaloc, there's no better way to assert your authority than smiting humans with thunderbolts.

For thousands of years, many people saw lightning this way, like a shock collar from the gods. The idea still comes up when someone offers "may God strike me dead" to bolster a claim, and although we've learned a lot about weather and electricity in the past few millennia, lightning and other types of atmospheric electricity remain shrouded in mystery. Uncle Sam's scientists are hard at work, though, and they've pieced together a rough idea of how it all goes down.


Via: Mother Nature Network

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