Water, Weather, and Climates - Research Article from UXL Encyclopedia of Water Science

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Thunderstorms

Thunderstorms form where plumes or masses of warm, moist air rise into cool air above. In temperate climates like central North America, thunderstorms are most common during the spring and summer, but they can also form in the winter. Temperature differences between rising areas of warm air and cool air surrounding them create air currents (moving stream of air) called updrafts and downdrafts. Vertically (upwards and downwards) circulating thunderstorm clouds have central updrafts (areas of rising air) surrounded by a ring of downdrafts (areas of falling air). Tall, billowing, black clouds form, called cumulonimbus clouds or thunderheads. Heavy rain falls. Moving water and ice particles within the clouds create electrical charges, causing lightning bolts to zap between clouds and the ground. Thunder booms and crackles. Thunder is the sound created by the electrical discharge of lightning.

Three ingredients are a recipe for a thunderstorm: warm, moist air near...

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This section contains 2,199 words
(approx. 8 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Water, Weather, and Climates Encyclopedia Article
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UXL Encyclopedia of Water Science
Water, Weather, and Climates from UXL Encyclopedia of Water Science. ©2005-2006 by U•X•L. U•X•L is an imprint of Thomson Gale, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. All rights reserved.