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UGA - GEOG 1111 - Class Notes - Week 15

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UGA - GEOG 1111 - Class Notes - Week 15

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background image Geography 1111 Lecture 15 Notes Thunderstorms: thunderstorm (T-storm) is a cumulus cloud 
which has developed sufficiently to produce precipitation and thus 
be classified as a cumulonimbus (Cn) cloud
o It also is producing the characteristic events of lightning and  thunder o Severe T-storms are accompanied by strong winds and wind  gusts, heavy rain, and sometimes hail and tornadoes o They are an indication of great instability in the atmosphere  and show a great deal of vertical development Requirements for Formation: o Warm, moist air: releases Latent Energy when lifted and  condensation occurs This provides buoyancy and maintains lift to develop 
updrafts
o High surface temperatures: enhances instability, air parcel warming and uplift These two conditions help establish and/or strengthen  atmospheric instability which will strengthen the T-storm Stages of Formation: o Cumulus stage: the initial build-up of cumulus clouds fueled  by updrafts (up to 160 kph) of warm, moist air cooling 
adiabatically
Droplet formation is by the Bergeron and Collision-
Coalescence processes
Updrafts dominate during this stage o Mature stage: raindrops start to fall initiating downdrafts The process of entrainment (the influx of cool, dry 
surrounding air) helps to fuel the downdrafts
Heavy rains, lightning and thunder are most intense 
during this stage
It is also during this stage that hail or a tornado may 
occur
Mixture of updrafts and downdrafts during this 
stage
o Dissipating stage: occurs as the rate and amount of rain  lessens with the loss of warm, moist air and latent heat 
energy
The storm breaks up and the cloud mass evaporates On average they are of relatively short duration, 1 - 3 
hours, but may last for up to 12 hours or more
Downdrafts dominate during this stage
background image Locations of Occurrence:  Thunderstorms occur in many parts of the world
They are a daily occurrence along the ITCZ
In the U.S. they form primarily east of the Rocky Mts. with 
Florida being the state with the greatest number of days per 
year with thunderstorm occurrence
The Great Plains is the region with the greatest number per  year  Lightning: flashes of light generated by the flow of tens of millions 
of volts of electrons (electrical charge) between oppositely charged 
parts of a cloud or between the cloud and the ground
What causes lightning? Charges are separated within the cloud as the 
thunderstorm develops with positive charges 
primarily near the top and negative charges at 
the base
Lightning is essentially the clouds way of trying 
to equalize this charge difference or imbalance
After a charge difference builds to millions or hundreds 
of millions, a lightning strike occurs to discharge the 
negative base of the cloud by moving positive charges 
to the base and negative charges to the top
This is accomplished either by: within cloud lightning,
Cloud-to-cloud lightning, 
or Cloud-to-ground 
lightning
o The Lightning Strike: basic Cloud-to-ground lightning The first step is the establishment of an invisible step 
leader
 of charges formed from the cloud base toward 
the ground
This may contain several linked pathways, each  reaching toward the ground Once one of these pathways reaches the ground, the 
connection between the areas of unlike charges is 
completed
The pathway which reaches the ground first is the  main trunk of the lightning strike and is the most 
brightly illuminated
The movement of opposite charges back 
cloud ward is the return stroke and what 
causes the illumination of the pathways, the
flash of lightning
This also illuminates all connected pathways

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School: University of Georgia
Department: Geography
Course: Intro to Physical Geography
Professor: Hopkins
Term: Fall 2016
Tags:
Name: Geography 1111 Lecture 15 Notes
Description: This is a filled in copy of the lecture 15 notes we took in Professor Hopkins' class on Monday (9/19).
Uploaded: 09/19/2016
4 Pages 12 Views 9 Unlocks
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