The Sun May Cause Lightning
Solar winds appear to trigger storms
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted May 16, 2014 1:54 PM CDT

(Newser) – The weather on the sun might just have an effect on the weather here on earth. Fast-moving solar winds tend to go hand-in-hand with an uptick in lightning storms, a new study reveals. The finding is somewhat puzzling as scientists have long believed that increased solar activity led to a decrease in lightning strikes, the LA Times explains, because when it's most active, the sun's magnetic field holds in the cosmic rays that are believed to cause lightning strikes.

But scientists from the University of Reading in England found that in the sun's most active periods, while cosmic rays did decrease, lightning increased. "That surprised us," the lead author says. In the 40 days after a solar wind passed, researchers found there were an average of 422 lightning strikes, as opposed to 321 in the 40 days prior, Australia's ABC Science reports. Their suspicion: particles are riding solar winds into thunder clouds. "So they could be making the air slightly more electrically conductive so that a spark can start and jump more easily."

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Showing 3 of 37 comments
May 16, 2014 11:52 PM CDT
40 day study? Wow!
Ezekiel 25:17
May 16, 2014 9:53 PM CDT
Aliens travel to Earth through cosmic rays that are reconstituted through lightning strikes. We never know they exist because we are expecting Area 51 figures.
May 16, 2014 7:58 PM CDT
Of course the Sun influences lightning storms. The Sun heats the surface of the Earth, the warm moist air rises to cooler atmospheric temperatures, water vapor condenses and forms water drops that rub against each other creating large electric fields that eventually discharge with a flash arc. 8th Grade science.