What causes lightning?

What causes lightning?

When air rises and falls within a thunderstorm, positive and negative charges form in the cloud. The bottom of the thundercloud has a negative charge, and the top has a positive charge. A flash of lightning happens when a charge becomes so strong that the air can’t stop it from jumping from the cloud to the ground, which has a positive charge. Lightning can also form inside the cloud, moving between the positively and negatively charged areas. The average flash of lightning could turn on a 100-watt light bulb for more than three months. The air near a lightning strike is hotter than the surface of the Sun.

Fact Monster/Information Please® Database, © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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