What is a thunderstorm?


Lightning is a spark discharge that occurs between separately accumulated negative and positive charges in a cloud, or between a charge in a cloud and a phone induced on the ground.

The discharge between the charges in the clouds is called intra-cloud discharge, cloud discharge, or inter-cloud discharge, and the discharge between the clouds and the ground is called thunderstorm or lightning.

Both discharges are very large, the potential difference between the two charge centres just before the discharge is 100 million to 1 billion volts, the charge neutralised is usually 20 to 30 coulombs, and the length of the discharge path is several kilometres to tens of kilometres.

Lightning is, in a narrow sense, the luminous phenomenon caused by this discharge. The sound produced by this discharge is called thunder.


Thunder is the sound produced by an electrical discharge.

The discharge of an aerial electricity reaches a high temperature of 30,000K and expands at supersonic speed, causing a shock wave of air pressure, which causes thunder to sound.

Thunder itself is a short-lived phenomenon of less than 0.5 seconds, but since the length of the discharge line can range from 2 to 14 kilometres, the sound is heard over a long period of time due to the difference in the time it takes to reach the ear.

Thunder can be heard at a range of 30 kilometres.


A rainstorm accompanied by lightning and thunder and caused by a developing cumulonimbus cloud.

Cumulonimbus clouds that produce thunderstorms are formed by the sublimation or condensation of water vapour in moist air masses as they are lifted by strong updrafts.

Depending on the source of the updraft, thunderstorms are classified as follows.

hot Thunderstorms

These thunderstorms occur mainly in summer, when the moist air near the ground is heated by strong insolation and rises with great momentum to become a thundercloud.

They are more likely to occur from afternoon to evening on hot, windy days, and in mountainous areas, they are more prone to heat waves than in plains because they are partially heated due to the complex terrain.

Cumulonimbus clouds that cause thermal lightning are about 10 kilometres in size and have a short travel distance and a relatively limited area of influence.

frontal thunderstorm

A lightning bolt that occurs near a power line where cold air seeps under warm air, also known as a power line lightning bolt. While heat strikes occur in the summer, lightning strikes are caused by electric wires, so they occur regardless of the season or time of day, even in the middle of the night or before dawn.

The greater the temperature difference between the hot and cold air, the stronger the updraft, so there are more thunderstorms along the cold front than along the warm front, and they affect a wide area as the front moves.

 cyclonic thunderstorm

These are thunderstorms that occur because air currents blowing from the surrounding area cause strong updrafts near the centre of a developed low pressure system or typhoon, and are also known as low pressure thunderstorms.

In practice, thunderstorms are often caused by an overlap of the three factors listed above.

For example, thunderstorms that are caused by both thunderstorms and lightning are called thermal thunderstorms. Severe thunderstorms in the summer are almost always thermal mines, which can cause major damage such as power outages, tram breakdowns, and flooding.

When cold air enters over warm, humid air, the atmosphere becomes unstable and the upper and lower air alternate.

This creates a strong updraft, which can cause thunderclouds to form.

This is called a mudflow or lightning strike.

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