Summer days are back with temperatures above 25 degrees again. You may have noticed that there are more thunderstorms. NU.nl has investigated why there are more thunderstorms when it gets warmer.
Thunderstorms are caused by friction between warm rising air and cold, descending air. Cold air does not rise, so high temperatures on Earth are needed to create thunderstorms, a Weerplaza spokesperson told NU.nl.
On hot summer days, the temperature on the ground is higher. This warm air contains a lot of water vapor and rises. This air then flows through the cold air at a speed of up to 100 kilometers per hour. “Especially in warm weather, there are strong ups and downs,” explains climate expert Peter Sigmund of KNMI. “The air heated by the sun expands on the surface of the earth, becomes lighter than the air around it, and then rises.”
Then this warm air cools slowly and at a certain temperature, which depends on the type of air, water vapor condenses and clouds form. A Weerplaza spokesperson explains that if these clouds start to grow, there will be more movements in the cloud and there will be a greater chance of thunderstorms.
Thunderstorms especially during thunderstorms in Germany. It is also known as a supercell. This is the most extreme form of thunderstorm, including the risk of tornado formation.
What exactly is a thunderstorm?
Electrically charged particles are found in storm clouds. Violent movements in the cloud create an electric charge, which leads to an imbalance between positive and negatively charged particles. If the disturbance becomes too large, what is called a discharge should occur.
Most of the offloading takes place in the cloud itself. But sometimes the potential difference between the cloud and the Earth’s surface is too big and then lightning strikes. “During a discharge, the particles search for each other along the path of least resistance. And that is the lightning strike we see. It is the spark that ensures the cancellation of the potential difference. When a bolt of lightning flashes, several successive discharges occur along the same path,” a Werplaza spokesperson said.
Thunderbolt contains a huge amount of energy, which releases a lot of heat. The interior of the thunderbolt can reach 33,000 degrees, according to Weerplaza. By comparison, the surface temperature of the Sun is about 5,500 degrees. The heat causes the air around the lightning bolt to expand, creating a shock wave in the air. And we hear it like thunder.
The speed of light is many times faster than the speed of sound. To estimate how far away the storm is from you, count the number of seconds from lightning to thunder. Every 3 seconds equals 1 kilometer.
Lightning strike over Apeldoorn.
Climate change is causing more thunderstorms
Climate change is causing a general increase in temperatures around the world. A warmer climate makes the air warmer. Warm air can hold more water vapor, about 7 percent more per degree. If there is more water vapor in the atmosphere, more severe weather conditions, such as hailstorms, floods due to heavy rainfall and more thunderstorms, may arise.
“With each degree of warming on Earth, the number of lightning strikes during thunderstorms increases by 10 to 15 percent,” says Peter Sigmund of KNMI.
Thunderstorms often in the afternoon or evening. “This is because the air often gets hot during the day and isn’t warm enough in the morning to cause thunderstorms,” a Weerplaza spokesperson said. If there is a thunderstorm at night, it is usually due to thunderstorms coming from neighboring countries such as Belgium and France.
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