Ball lightning : an unsolved problem in atmospheric physics by Mark Stenhoff

By Mark Stenhoff

Down comes a deluge of sonorous hail, Or prone-descending rain. Wide-rent, the clouds Pour an entire flood, and but, its flame unquenched, Th’unconquerable lightning struggles via. Ragged and fierce, or in purple whirling balls, And fires the mountains with redoubled rage. Black from the stroke, above, the smould’ring pine Stands a tragic shattered trunk; and, stretched lower than, a dull workforce the blasted farm animals lie. James Thompson, “The Seasons” (1727) were investigating ball lightning for greater than 20 years. I released a ball lightning record in Nature in 1976 that obtained all over the world exposure and that i as a result many folks wrote to me with debts in their personal studies. inside a really little while, I had collected approximately two hundred firsthand debts, and the dossier has endured to develop gradually when you consider that then. a number of issues inspired me. Few of these who wrote to me had any precise foreknowledge of ball lightning on the time in their statement. still, as soon as studies of alternative phenomena similar to St. Elmo’s hearth were eradicated, the rest descriptions have been remarkably constant. moreover, approximately all who contacted me have been willing to have an evidence of what that they had visible and appeared fullyyt honest

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Thus the energy of the most energetic positive flashes could be more than 55 GJ. The time between successive strokes may be extended to tenths of a second if continuing current* flows in the channel after the stroke. 1 s, thus lowering about 10 C of charge from a cloud (Uman 1987). They are caused by direct transfer of a charge from cloud to ground. Between 25% and 50% of CG flashes have a continuing current component. Continuing current features in some ball lightning models. Lightning associated with continuing currents is often called hot lightning.

Focused cosmic ray particles. After Uman (1969). 6. A significant number of ball lightning reports describe motion that is inconsistent with simple, convective behavior of a hot gas. 7. Ball lightning has been reported to have caused damage. Some models also try to explain the following reported characteristics of ball lightning: 1. It may decay silently or explosively. 2. It has been reported to pass unimpeded through small holes, screens, or solid objects. 3. It may sometimes be associated with acrid odors.

This process may be repeated many times; typically there are about four return strokes, called subsequent strokes, in each flash (lightning flash,* lightning stroke*). 5 s, and each stroke lasts about 1 ms, with the interval between strokes about 40 to 80 ms. The eye cannot usually resolve the individual strokes, but rather the lightning may seem to flicker. The average peak power per stroke is about 1 kW. Peak currents are about 10 to 20 kA, but occasionally they can range up to hundreds of kiloamperes.

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