Lightning occurs when the negative charges (electrons) in the bottom of the cloud are attracted to the positive charges (protons) in the ground. THE origin of lightning is, of course, one of the great wonders of nature, on the one hand a deadly terror of discharging electrical energy and on the other a life-giving catalyst. When there is a net transfer of positive energy from the cloud to the ground, the strikes are positive lightning strikes. These strikes originate from areas of the cloud that have areas of high positive charge, such as in the anvil or top of the cloud, or upper parts of the thunderstorm.
After all when Lightning occurs, it is lightning that causes the oxygen and nitrogen in the air to combine so that it can be washed into the soil by the rain where it can feed the roots of plants with nitrogen. And all animals on earth, as well as humans, are basically dependent on plants to survive (even the carnivorous animals eat others that, say, live on grass).
Lightning is four times hotter than the sun. … A return stroke of lightning, that is, a bolt shooting up from the ground to a cloud (after a stream of electricity came downward from a cloud) can peak at 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit (F). The surface of the sun is around 11,000 degrees F.
Lightning occurs due to the build-up and discharge of electricity between positively and negatively charged areas. The rising and falling air currents in a thunderstorm separate these positive and negative charges, while water and ice particles also play a role.
Lightning bolts can travel from one cloud to another, inside a cloud or from a cloud to the ground.
A cloud-to-ground flash, for example, starts as an invisible channel of electrically charged air moving from the cloud to the ground. As one channel approaches an object on the ground, there is a powerful upward surge of electricity to the clouds that produces the visible lightning bolt.