PerspectiveAtmospheric Science

Deciphering the Energetics of Lightning

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Science  31 Jan 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5607, pp. 669-670
DOI: 10.1126/science.1082432

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The search for radiation from thunderstorms and lightning has been on for over 80 years, but as Krider explains in his Perspective, observational difficulties are only now beginning to be overcome. He highlights the report by Dwyer et al., who have observed energetic radiation--x-rays, gamma-rays and/or relativistic electrons--during rocket-triggered lightning. Measurements of this kind should help to explain the energetic processes that occur during natural lightning.