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Thunderstorms: How Do They Form?

We have all experienced sudden downpours and crashing thunder on a summer evening. But what causes these thunderstorms?

Thunderstorms come as a result of warmer and colder air clashing. Warm and moist air will rise into colder and dried air. The moisture cools, forming water droplets. These drop down in the atmosphere and warm up, thereby rising again. This process repeats itself.

If the process continues with a lot of heat and moisture, a thunderstorm can form.

There are three ingredients that need to be in place: moisture, unstable air, and lift. 

Unstable air results when hot and moist air is on the ground, and cold and dry air is above. This sharp difference creates an instability in the atmosphere. 

Lift will bring the hot, moist air up into the cooler air. It comes as a result of differences in air density. Warmer air is less dense and rises, creating a lift for moisture to rise. 

When all three ingredients combine, strong thunderstorms can result.