What Are the Reasons of Thunder?
01st March 2010
Children usually get scared of thunder and lightning during storm. The booming sound resembles with an exploding bomb. It is somewhat true that a child will get scared.
Exploding air
When air explodes inside a thunder cloud when lightning heats it up, a thunder is produced. A lightning strike can quickly heat up the air between the temperatures of 15000 to 60000 Fahrenheit; this is hotter than the surface of the sun. Air expands violently and contracts when heated rapidly, this causes the air to explode with a booming sound. The air which rushes out sets up a sound wave of vibrating air which is called thunder.
Cold and warm fronts
Lightning and thunder occurs at almost the same time because lightning is produced by cold and warm masses of air that clashes against each other. This causes friction resulting in sparks of electricity that is called lightning shooting down to the ground. Besides lightning, the clash of cold and warm fronts of air produces a loud booming sound which is called thunder.
Why lightning is seen first before hearing the thunder
Lightning and thunder happen at the same time but lightning is seen first before hearing the thunder. The scientific reason is the light travels faster than the speed of sound through the atmosphere. The longer gap between lightning and thunder means that the thunderstorm is further away.
The speed of light is faster than the speed of sound and it takes about three seconds to travel a distance of one kilometer. If one counts to three just before hearing the thunder, it means that the lightning is about one kilometer away. If lightning and thunder occur at the same time then it means that the lightning is definitely very close.
The rumbling of thunder
The sound of thunder varies. It is often considered as roll or rumble. Two things make the thunder to rumble; the lightning bolts and the clouds. A lightning bolt appears like forks zigzagging and the limbs can branch out for long miles.
When the air explodes as a result whenever lightning heats the air, each part of the lightning bolt creates compression waves that will reach at different times. The sound wave that travels a longer distance is softer and arrives later than a sound wave that was created by a part of lightning bolt that was closer.
The second factor behind the rumble of thunder is the presence of mountains and clouds around the area. The sound waves bounce off from the clouds, ground and other nearby objects which are much similar to the way a human voice echoes in a large auditorium. This is the reason why the sound of thunder might become louder than getting lower a bit.
Lightning can happen without thunder but thunder cannot happen without lightning. The reason can be that a person is very far away to hear the thunder. The sound waves scatter but the lightning is still visible in the sky.
Powered by