Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards

2013 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky

Thunderstorms

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4399-4_49

Synonyms

Convective storms; Deep convection; Electrical storms; MCS; Squall lines; Supercells

Definition

Thunderstorms are defined as weather storms that are associated with lightning discharges, which result in the production of acoustic waves called thunder.

Discussion

There are approximately 2,000 thunderstorms active at any time around the globe, with all these thunderstorms producing between 50 and 100 lightning discharges per second. Thunderstorms are the result of strong vertical air currents in the lower atmosphere, produced when the atmosphere becomes unstable. More than 90% of all thunderstorms occur within the tropical regions, where the air becomes unstable due to the daily solar heating of the surface, and the resulting rising thermals. The air condenses as it rises and cools, with additional heating of the air occuring due to the release of latent heat within the clouds, enhancing the development of the thunderstorms. The larger the instability, the larger the vertical...

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Bibliography

  1. Betz, H. D., Schumann, U., and Laroche, P., 2009. Lightning: Principles, Instruments and Applications. Amsterdam: Springer.Google Scholar
  2. MacGorman, D. R., and Rust, W. D., 1998. The electrical nature of storms. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geophysics and Planetary SciencesTel Aviv UniversityRamat AvivIsrael