By Mark Stenhoff B.Sc., M.Phil. (Lond.), C.Phys., M.Inst.P., F.R.A.S., F.R.Met.S. (auth.)
Down comes a deluge of sonorous hail, Or prone-descending rain. Wide-rent, the clouds Pour a complete flood, and but, its flame unquenched, Th’unconquerable lightning struggles via. Ragged and fierce, or in pink whirling balls, And fires the mountains with redoubled rage. Black from the stroke, above, the smould’ring pine Stands a tragic shattered trunk; and, stretched under, a dull staff the blasted farm animals lie. James Thompson, “The Seasons” (1727) were investigating ball lightning for greater than twenty years. I released a ball lightning file in Nature in 1976 that obtained around the globe exposure and that i for that reason many of us wrote to me with money owed in their personal reviews. inside of a truly couple of minutes, I had accrued approximately 2 hundred firsthand debts, and the dossier has persevered to develop gradually seeing that then. a number of issues inspired me. Few of these who wrote to me had any exact foreknowledge of ball lightning on the time in their commentary. still, as soon as stories of different phenomena reminiscent of St. Elmo’s fireplace have been eradicated, the remainder descriptions have been remarkably constant. moreover, approximately all who contacted me have been prepared to have a proof of what that they had obvious and appeared totally sincere.
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Extra resources for Ball Lightning: An Unsolved Problem in Atmospheric Physics
The two-volume set edited by Golde (1977) is of considerable value even two decades after its publication, but at present it is out of print. The first volume was concerned with the physics of lightning and the second with lightning protection. The latter subject is also covered by Golde’s earlier book (1973). Lightning risk assessment and the design of protective systems is based on a clear understanding of the damage ordinary lightning can cause, a topic on which some authors of ball lightning papers have evidently been ignorant.
Continuing current features in some ball lightning models. Lightning associated with continuing currents is often called hot lightning. Although the peak temperature of all lightning is very high and the currents are very large, these very high temperatures and currents are only maintained for a very short time unless there are continuing currents, and so the heating effect of lightning without such currents is surprisingly rather small. Where there are continuing currents, however, these provide sufficient heating effect for a sufficiently long time to start combustion.
Negative CG upward lightning results from upward leaders that are propagated from tall natural geographical features and manmade structures such as towers, or by artificially triggering lightning by firing rockets attached to grounded wires toward thunderclouds (rocket-triggered lightning*) (Uman 1987). Positive, upward lightning is the rarest kind of CG lightning (Uman 1987). Upward leaders from a ground structure or a topographical feature such as a mountain often enter a thundercloud and result in a more or less continuous current flow of 100–1000 A.
Ball Lightning: An Unsolved Problem in Atmospheric Physics by Mark Stenhoff B.Sc., M.Phil. (Lond.), C.Phys., M.Inst.P., F.R.A.S., F.R.Met.S. (auth.)