Formation of Electrical Storms
The magnificent power of electrical storms originates from the processes of the water cycle. The water cycle is the cause of cloud formation, some of which develop into thunderheads, enabling the development of thunder and lightning. Evaporation, condensation, and precipitation are the three main components of the water cycle.
Liquids transform into a gas or vapor through the process of evaporation. When a liquid is subjected to heat or energy, the molecules gain energy, allowing for increased vibration and increased distance between molecules. This process is constantly in action around us, as sunlight and heat from the surrounding environment interacts with water causing its evaporation and ascent into the atmosphere. The vapor rises due to the greater distance between its molecules providing it with a smaller density than air, causing it to rise above the air. This continues until the water vapor finally cools, beginning the condensation phase of the water cycle.
Condensation occurs when the water vapor dissipates its heat and energy to the surrounding environment, thus reverting to a liquid. When the water vapor rises high enough in the atmosphere to the upper stratosphere, the air cools enough for the water vapor to fragments collect in the air, they form what we see as clouds. Clouds, depending on their size, air current, density of droplets, temperature and electrical charge have the ability to develop into large rain clouds known as thunder clouds. This condensed water vapor is suspended in the air by an upward draft, bringing additional moisture until the droplets become heavy enough for gravity to overcome the upward force. Then these droplets fall down to earth in the form of precipitation.
Precipitation occurs when the droplets of water or shards of ice in the clouds become massive enough for the force of gravity to overcome the upward force of the air. The water falls downward toward the ground in the form of rain, ice, sleet, etc. The precipitation then collects on the Earth's surface and begins again.