11 Facts About Lightning


Lightning is a naturally occurring electrostatic discharge during which two electrically charged regions, both in the atmosphere or with one on the ground, temporarily neutralize themselves, causing the instantaneous release of an average of one gigajoule of energy.

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Lightning occurs commonly during thunderstorms as well as other types of energetic weather systems, but volcanic lightning can occur during volcanic eruptions.

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Lightning primarily occurs when warm air is mixed with colder air masses, resulting in atmospheric disturbances necessary for polarizing the atmosphere.

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Lightning is not distributed evenly around Earth, as shown in the map.

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Lightning serves an important role in the nitrogen cycle by oxidizing diatomic nitrogen in the air into nitrates which are deposited by rain and can fertilize the growth of plants and other organisms.

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Lightning discharges generate radio-frequency pulses which can be received thousands of kilometres from their source as radio atmospheric signals and whistlers.

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Lightning can be detected in any explosion but the causation of additional electrification from ice particles in ash can lead to a stronger electrical field and a higher rate of detectable lightning.

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Lightning is used as a volcano monitoring tool for detecting hazardous eruptions.

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Lightning has been observed within the atmospheres of other planets, such as Jupiter and Saturn.

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Lightning discharges generate a wide range of electromagnetic radiations, including radio-frequency pulses.

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Lightning bolt is a common insignia for military communications units throughout the world.

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