Vol. 90

Latest Volume
All Volumes
All Issues

Lorentz Force Contribution to Thunderstorm's Electrical Characteristics

By Babak Sadeghi, Amir Abbas Shayegani Akmal, and Farahnaz Taghavi
Progress In Electromagnetics Research B, Vol. 90, 151-166, 2021


In this paper, the exerted electric and geomagnetic forces on the electrified hydrometeors in thunderclouds are compared. The parameters of geomagnetic field are acquired from International Geomagnetic Reference Field (IGRF) model. First, the calculations showed that the magnitude of the electricforce exerted on a charged hydrometeor dominates the magnitude of the geomagnetic force in troposphere. These results revealed the significance of electricforce in the formation of thunderclouds' charge structure. Moreover, as the electric field increases in thunderstorm conditions, (regarding the dependence of the induction mechanism of cloud electrification to the intensity of the electric field) the increased electric field strengthens the induction mechanism of cloud electrification and influences the electrical properties of thunderstorm. Second, using satellite-based/ground-based data and reports, an inverse relation has been revealed between the totalgeomagnetic field and the mean annual lightningactivity in most of the hot spots on the Earth. Moreover, a comparison between the global annual thunder days' map and the map of global total geomagnetic field showed an inverse relation between these two maps. Furthermore, regarding the horizontal and vertical correlation coefficient matrices of the geomagnetic field and the global mean annual lightning activity (in the global tropics and subtropics), approximately in latitudes and longitudes with high lightning density, the reverse relation between the average annual lightning activity and the total geomagnetic field is stronger.


Babak Sadeghi, Amir Abbas Shayegani Akmal, and Farahnaz Taghavi, "Lorentz Force Contribution to Thunderstorm's Electrical Characteristics," Progress In Electromagnetics Research B, Vol. 90, 151-166, 2021.


    1. Rakov, V. A. and M. A. Uman, Lightning: Physics and Effects, Cambridge University Press, 2003, https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107340886.

    2. Marshall, T., S. Bandara, N. Karunarathne, S. Karunarathne, I. Kolmasova, R. Siedlecki, and M. Stolzenburg, "A study of lightning flash initiation prior to the first initial breakdown pulse," Atmospheric Research, Vol. 217, 10-23, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosres.2018.10.013.

    3. Berkopec, A., "Fast particles as initiators of stepped leaders in CG and IC lightnings," Journal of Electrostatics, Vol. 70, 462-467, 2012, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.elstat.2012.07.001.

    4. Gao, X., N. Liu, F. Shi, and H. K. Rassoul, "Streamer discharge initiation from an isolated spherical hydrometeor at subbreakdown condition," Journal of Electrostatics, Vol. 106, 103457, 2020, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.elstat.2020.103457.

    5. Latham, J., "The electrification of thunderstorms," Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Vol. 107, 277-298, 1981, https://doi.org/10.1002/qj.49710745202.

    6. Rycroft, M. J., A. Odzimek, N. F. Arnold, M. Fullekrug, A. Kulak, and T. Neubert, "New model simulations of the global atmospheric electric circuit driven by thunderstorms and electrified shower clouds: The roles of lightning and sprites," Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Vol. 69, 2485-2509, 2007, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jastp.2007.09.004.

    7. Liu, C., E. R. Williams, E. J. Zipser, and G. Burns, "Diurnal variations of global thunderstorms and electrified shower clouds and their contribution to the global electrical circuit," Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, Vol. 67, 309-323, 2010, https://doi.org/10.1175/2009jas3248.1.

    8. Harrison, G., "The cloud chamber and CTR Wilson’s legacy to atmospheric science," Weather, Vol. 66, 276-279, 2011, https://doi.org/10.1002/wea.830.

    9. Nicoll, K., "Space weather influences on atmospheric electricity," Weather, Vol. 69, 238-241, 2014, https://doi.org/10.1002/wea.2323.

    10. Mangla, B., D. Sharma, and A. Rajput, "Ion density variation at upper ionosphere during thunderstorm," Advances in Space Research, Vol. 59, 1189-1199, 2017, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.asr.2016.11.039.

    11. Burns, G., A. Frank-Kamenetsky, B. Tinsley, W. French, P. Grigioni, G. Camporeale, and E. Bering, "Atmospheric global circuit variations from Vostok and Concordia electric field measurements," Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, Vol. 74, 783-800, 2017, https://doi.org/10.1175/jasd- 16-0159.1.

    12. Nina, A., M. Radovanovic, B. Milovanovic, A. Kovacevic, J. Bajcetic, L. C, and Popovi, "Low ionospheric reactions on tropical depressions prior hurricanes," Advances in Space Research, Vol. 60, 1866-1877, 2017, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.asr.2017.05.024.

    13. Dehel, T. F., M. Dickinson, F. Lorge, R. Startzel, and Jr., "Electric field and Lorentz force contribution to atmospheric vortex phenomena," Journal of Electrostatics, Vol. 65, 631-638, 2007, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.elstat.2007.04.001.

    14. Schultz, D. M. and R. J. Vavrek, "An overview of thundersnow," Weather, Vol. 64, 274-277, 2009, https://doi.org/10.1002/wea.376.

    15. Takahashi, T., T. Tajiri, and Y. Sonoi, "Charges on graupel and snow crystals and the electrical structure of winter thunderstorms," Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, Vol. 56, 1561-1578, 1999, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0469(1999)056%3C1561:cogasc%3E2.0.co.

    16. Thebault, E., C. C. Finlay, C. D. Beggan, P. Alken, J. Aubert, O. Barrois, F. Bertrand, T. Bondar, A. Boness, and L. Brocco, "International geomagnetic reference field: The 12th generation," Earth, Planets and Space, Vol. 67, 79, 2015, https://doi.org/10.1186/s40623-015-0228-9.

    17. Macmillan, S., "Earth’s magnetic field, Geophysics and Geochemistry, Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS)," Developed under the Auspices of the UNESCO, Eolss Publishers, Oxford, UK, 2006, https://www.eolss.net/sample-chapters/C01/E6-16-04-01.pdf.

    18. Stolzenburg, M., W. D. Rust, B. F. Smull, and T. C. Marshall, "Electrical structure in thunderstorm convective regions: 1. Mesoscale convective systems," Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 103, 14059-14078, 1998, https://doi.org/10.1029/97jd03546.

    19. Pineda, N., T. Rigo, J. Montanya, and O. A. van der Velde, "Charge structure analysis of a severe hailstorm with predominantly positive cloud-to-ground lightning," Atmospheric Research, Vol. 178, 31-44, 2016, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosres.2016.03.010.

    20. Molinari, J., D. Vollaro, and K. L. Corbosiero, "Tropical cyclone formation in a sheared environment: A case study," Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, Vol. 61, 2493-2509, 2004, https://doi.org/10.1175/jas3291.1.

    21. Wiens, K. C., S. A. Rutledge, and S. A. Tessendorf, "The 29 June 2000 supercell observed during STEPS. Part II: Lightning and charge structure," Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, Vol. 62, 4151-4177, 2005, https://doi.org/10.1175/jas3615.1.

    22. Barthe, C., T. Hoarau, and C. Bovalo, "Cloud electrification and lightning activity in a tropical cyclone-like vortex," Atmospheric Research, Vol. 180, 297-309, 2016, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosres.2016.05.023.

    23. Ahmad, A. and M. Ghosh, "Variability of lightning activity over India on ENSO time scales," Advances in Space Research, Vol. 60, 2379-2388, 2017, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.asr.2017.09.018.

    24. Matthews, J., M. Wright, D. Clarke, E. Morley, H. Silva, A. Bennett, D. Robert, and D. Shallcross, "Urban and rural measurements of atmospheric potential gradient," Journal of Electrostatics, Vol. 97, 42-50, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.elstat.2018.11.006.

    25. Nicoll, K., "Measurements of atmospheric electricity aloft," Surveys in Geophysics, Vol. 33, 991-1057, 2012, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10712-012-9188-9.

    26. Falconer, R. E., "A correlation between atmospheric electrical activity and the jet stream," General Electric Co Schenectady, NY, 1953, https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/015500.pdf.

    27. Saunders, C., "Charge separation mechanisms in clouds," Space Science Reviews, Vol. 137, 335, 2008, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-87664-1_22.

    28. Krasilnikov, E. Y., "Electromagnetohydrodynamic nature of tropical cyclones, hurricanes, and tornadoes," Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 102, 13571-13580, 1997, https://doi.org/10.1029/97jd00146.

    29. Artekha, S. and A. Belyan, "On the role of electromagnetic phenomena in some atmospheric processes," Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics, Vol. 20, 293-304, 2013, https://doi.org/10.5194/npg- 20-293-2013.

    30. Toth, III, J. R., S. Rajupet, H. Squire, B. Volbers, J. Zhou, L. Xie, R. M. Sankaran, and D. J. Lacks, "Electrostatic forces alter particle size distributions in atmospheric dust," Atmospheric Chemistry & Physics, Vol. 20, 3181-3190, 2020, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-20-3181-2020.

    31. Pang, X. F., "The experimental evidences of the magnetism of water by magnetic-field treatment," IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity, Vol. 24, 1-6, 2014, https://doi.org/10.1109/tasc.2014.2340455.

    32. Cai, R., H. Yang, J. He, and W. Zhu, "The effects of magnetic fields on water molecular hydrogen bonds," Journal of Molecular Structure, Vol. 938, 15-19, 2009, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molstruc.2009.08.037.

    33. Pang, X.-F. and G.-F. Shen, "The changes of physical properties of water arising from the magnetic field and its mechanism," Modern Physics Letters B, Vol. 27, No. 1350228, 1-9, 2013, https://doi.org/10.1142/s021798491350228x.

    34. Semikhina, L. and V. Kiselev, "Effect of weak magnetic fields on the properties of water and ice," Soviet Physics Journal, Vol. 31, 351-354, 1988, https://doi.org/10.1007/bf01243721.

    35. Mohri, K. and M. Fukushima, "Gradual decreasing characteristics and temperature stability of electric resistivity in water triggered with milligauss AC field," IEEE Transactions on Magnetics, Vol. 38, 3353-3355, 2002, https://doi.org/10.1109/tmag.2002.802307.

    36. Saunders, C., "Charge separation mechanisms in clouds," Space Science Reviews, Vol. 137, 335-353, 2008, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11214-008-9345-0.

    37. Takahashi, T., S. Sugimoto, T. Kawano, and K. Suzuki, "Riming electrification in Hokuriku winter clouds and comparison with laboratory observations," Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, Vol. 74, 431-447, 2017, https://doi.org/10.1175/jas-d-16-0154.1.

    38. Emersic, C. and C. Saunders, "Further laboratory investigations into the relative diffusional growth rate theory of thunderstorm electrification," Atmospheric Research, Vol. 98, 327-340, 2010, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosres.2010.07.011.

    39. Lamb, H. H., Climate: Present, Past and Future (Routledge Revivals): Volume 2: Climatic History and the Future, Routledge, 2013, https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203804315.

    40. King, J., "Weather and the Earth’s magnetic field," Nature, Vol. 247, 131-134, 1974, https://doi.org/10.1038/247131a0.

    41. King, J. and D. Willis, Magnetometeorology: Relationships between the weather and Earth’s magnetic field, NASA, 1975, https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=19760007443.

    42. Svensmark, H. and E. Friis-Christensen, "Variation of cosmic ray flux and global cloud coverage — A missing link in solar-climate relationships," Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Vol. 59, 1225-1232, 1997, https://doi.org/10.1016/s1364-6826(97)00001-1.

    43. Courtillot, V., Y. Gallet, J.-L. Le Mouel, F. Fluteau, and A. Genevey, "Are there connections between the Earth’s magnetic field and climate?," Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol. 253, 328-339, 2007, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2006.10.032.

    44. Knudsen, M. F. and P. Riisager, "Is there a link between Earth’s magnetic field and low-latitude precipitation?," Geology, Vol. 37, 71-74, 2009, https://doi.org/10.1130/g25238a.1.

    45. Anderson, R. Y., "Possible connection between surface winds, solar activity and the Earth’s magnetic field," Nature, Vol. 358, 51-53, 1992, https://doi.org/10.1038/358051a0.

    46. Schlegel, K., G. Diendorfer, S. Thern, and M. Schmidt, "Thunderstorms, lightning and solar activity — Middle Europe," Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Vol. 63, 1705-1713, 2001, https://doi.org/10.1016/s1364-6826(01)00053-0.

    47. Gurevich, A. V. and K. P. Zybin, "Runaway breakdown and the mysteries of lightning," Phys. Today, Vol. 58, 37-43, 2005, https://doi.org/10.1063/1.1995746.

    48. Babich, L. P., E. I. Bochkov, J. R. Dwyer, and I. M. Kutsyk, "Numerical simulations of local thundercloud field enhancements caused by runaway avalanches seeded by cosmic rays and their role in lightning initiation," Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, Vol. 117, 2012, https://doi.org/10.1029/2012ja017799.

    49. Lindy, N., E. Benton, W. Beasley, and D. Petersen, "Energetic cosmic-ray secondary electron distribution at thunderstorm altitudes," Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Vol. 179, 435-440, 2018, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jastp.2018.10.003.

    50. Jeon, J., S.-J. Noh, and D.-H. Lee, "Relationship between lightning and solar activity for recorded between CE 1392–1877 in Korea," Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Vol. 172, 63-68, 2018, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jastp.2018.03.020.

    51. Collier, A. and A. Hughes, "A harmonic model for the temporal variation of lightning activity over Africa," Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 116, 2011, https://doi.org/10.1029/2010JD014455.

    52. Cecil, D. J., D. E. Buechler, and R. J. Blakeslee, "Gridded lightning climatology from TRMM-LIS and OTD: Dataset description," Atmospheric Research, Vol. 135, 404-414, 2014, https://dx.doi.org/10.5067/LIS/LIS-OTD/DATA311.

    53. Kuleshov, Y., D. Mackerras, and M. Darveniza, "Spatial distribution and frequency of lightning activity and lightning flash density maps for Australia," Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 111, 2006, https://doi.org/10.1029/2005JD006982.

    54. Lapierre, J., M. Hoekzema, M. Stock, C. Merrill, and S. C. Thangaraj, "Earth networks lightning network and dangerous thunderstorm alerts," 2019 11th Asia-Pacific International Conference on Lightning (APL), 1-5, IEEE, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1109/APL.2019.8816032.

    55. Kuettner, J. P., J. D. Sartor, and Z. Levin, "Thunderstorm electrification — Inductive or non-inductive?," Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, Vol. 38, 2470-2484, 1981, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0469(1981)038%3C2470:teoni%3E2.0.co;2.

    56. Christian, H., C. Holmes, J. Bullock, W. Gaskell, A. Illingworth, and J. Latham, "Air-borne and ground-based studies of thunderstorms in the vicinity of Langmuir Laboratory," Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Vol. 106, 159-174, 1980, https://doi.org/10.1002/qj.49710644711.