TRIP illumines lightning



It is 8 yr since important measurements of lightning in single-cell thunderstorms were made during the Thunderstorm Research International Project (TRIP), yet no theoretical interpretation of the lightning generation mechanism from the data has been made. This tardiness in interpreting the data is undoubtedly related to the existing confusion in lightning generation theories.

According to Chalmers [1967], there are two classes of thunderstorm charge separation theories: those that rely on gravitation and those that do not involve gravitation. In the gravitational class, Chalmers again distinguished two types of processes: those in which ions are naturally generated (e.g., by cosmic rays, etc.) and are then attached to particles in the cloud and those in which some process (e.g., collision, coagulation, etc.) generates positive and negatively charged particles from neutrals in the cloud. Some of these two process types, cited in Chalmers' work, are given in Table 1, together with some of the scientists who originally proposed these processes.