Atmospheric discharge of electricity

Lightning is a naturally occurring electrostatic discharge during which two electrically charged regions in the atmosphere or ground temporarily equalize themselves, causing the instantaneous release of as much as one billion joules of energy. This discharge may produce a wide range of electromagnetic radiation, from very hot plasma created by the rapid movement of electrons to brilliant flashes of visible light in the form of black-body radiation. Lightning is often followed by thunder, an audible sound caused by the shock wave which develops as gases in the vicinity of the discharge experience a sudden increase in pressure. It occurs commonly during thunderstorms and other types of energetic weather systems.

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