Friday, August 8, 2008

Explain how charges in cloud is formed with simple physics

This is a hypothesis that explain the formation of electrical charges in cloud by cwwinson

I hope this is new theory never mentioned before by other scientist or researcher. If no, please notify me with some comments and provide me further readings or reference.

If yes, hope my discovery helps us understand more about our earth and help develop further to discover more. If scientist or researchers found this article useful and valuable, please comment and bring up possibilities that may make this theory helpful to explain some other still not fully understand natural phenominen.
I will be glad if this can be a research topic.

-Title: Explain how charges in cloud is formed with simple physics, the fleming's right hand rule.

- Charging the Clouds

The generally accepted theory of how clouds gain charge is related to static electricity. As the moisture and water vapor rise and develop into small water droplets or ice fragments they collide, exchanging electrons. This exchange occurs due to the friction between the particles in the collisions, causing different charges to accumulate in the clouds. With the significant number of small particles in a thunderhead system, the charge may grow to extremely high levels. This accretion of strong charge is the beginning of the development of lightning.

Excerpted from

The Fleming's right hand rule in storming cloud's electric formation.

For those who learned flemming's right hand rule, we know how generator produce current.

And I believe we can put the similar senario in the nature of atmosphere and cloud.

Refering to image 1
You can quickly identify what I am saying.

Image 1: Magnetic flux, motion & current.

Assumed that the conductor stay still, and the spinning of earth naturally give a motion relative to the conductor. And it is obvious a motion cutting magnetic flux of the earth by the conductor. Current generated by this magnetic induction.

Image 2, the enlarged detail.

Image 2 :Enlarged detail.

By nature, the distribution of electric charge pattern explain why mostly the base of stormy cloud has a negative charge under, and above, a positive charge because the natural self spinning of the earth cause this charge seperation. When positive charge distribute at lower level? My explanation is when the relative motion to the spinning of the earth is big enough. That is the conductor moving in same direction as the spinning of the earth and relatively speed is high enough .

This explanation, i hope, just brings up a possible solution to the myth and a starting point for discussion to find the truth. Contribution to refine this explanation is welcome and will be credited.

Further wishes, if this explanation is somehow proof to be true, then I think this theory can explain how circular motion in the atmosphere with growing power can turn into a hurricane.


  1. Is the explanation still valid at the south pole?

  2. I don't think so, since the electric charge distribution is different and that cause polar aurora (極光). The electricity of the cloud may be dominated by cosmo rays.

  3. Does the bottom of cloud in south hemisphere charged positive (the right hand rule)?

  4. In this theory, the bottom of cloud charge is negative in all areas except the cloud's motion can be faster than the self spinning motion of the earth. That is why they are negative mostly.
    When it is positive, there must be hurricane or a very fast wind motion.