Surveys in Geophysics

, Volume 39, Issue 5, pp 861–899 | Cite as

Lightning Discharges, Cosmic Rays and Climate

  • Sanjay Kumar
  • Devendraa Siingh
  • R. P. Singh
  • A. K. Singh
  • A. K. Kamra


The entirety of the Earth’s climate system is continuously bombarded by cosmic rays and exhibits about 2000 thunderstorms active at any time of the day all over the globe. Any linkage among these vast systems should have global consequences. Numerous studies done in the past deal with partial links between some selected aspects of this grand linkage. Results of these studies vary from weakly to strongly significant and are not yet complete enough to justify the physical mechanism proposed to explain such links. This review is aimed at presenting the current understanding, based on the past studies on the link between cosmic ray, lightning and climate. The deficiencies in some proposed links are pointed out. Impacts of cosmic rays on engineering systems and the possible effects of cosmic rays on human health are also briefly discussed. Also enumerated are some problems for future work which may help in developing the grand linkage among these three vast systems.


Cosmic rays and human hazards Cosmic rays and thunderstorm electrification Thunderstorms/lightning discharges and climate Global electric circuit and climate 



This work is supported under the collaboration program of IITM, Pune, and BHU, Varanasi. Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology Pune is funded by Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES). AKK acknowledges the support under the INSA Honorary Scientist Program. The authors wish to thank the anonymous reviewers for their suggestions which helped to improve the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sanjay Kumar
    • 1
  • Devendraa Siingh
    • 2
  • R. P. Singh
    • 1
  • A. K. Singh
    • 1
  • A. K. Kamra
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Physics, Institute of ScienceBanaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia
  2. 2.Indian Institute of Tropical MeteorologyPuneIndia

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