Cloud-to-Ground and Cloud-to-Cloud Lightning

October 02, 2010

Cloudtogroundover Germany 
Photographer: Michael Grossmann; Michael's Website
Summary Author: Michael Grossmann

The photo above showing a classic cloud-to-ground lightning strike and a cloud-to-cloud bolt as well was taken near Pforzheim, Germany on August 22, 2010. Temperatures reached the mid 80s F (25-28°C) here by late afternoon shortly before a weather front and accompanying thunderstorm blasted through. The lightning was quite intense with this storm -- I estimated 10-15 flashes per minute. Cloud-to-ground electrical discharges are typically observed when the base of the cloud is negatively charged and the ground is positively charged. On the other hand, cloud-to-cloud (inter-cloud and intra-cloud) lightning occurs most often when the top of the cloud is positively charged and the base negatively charged.

Photo details: Nikon D40x camera; F/9; 1/6 second exposure time; 18mm focus length; 100 ISO.