Camp Journal

Thundery Nights

4th August 2012

There was a fabulous display of electrostatic discharge in the skies of the Rhône region here on Wednesday evening…

According to this area is more prone to thundery storms due to its situation immediately to the east of the French Prealps, where the altitude of land facilitates the build-up of humid air from Northern Europe. Eventually, prevailing winds push the humid air further inland and as it meets the yet higher altitude of the Swiss Alps the moist air rises rapidly, where its particles reach dew point causing them to turn into droplets of water and forming cumulonimbus clouds.

Within these clouds lightening occurs due to a build-up of unbalanced electrical charge. The vision of the cloud’s imbalance of electrical charge would be like visualising an arena which is half empty of people condensed near the stage. So like a magnet, negatively charged particles (areas where there are too many electrons) are attracted to areas of positive charged particles (areas where there are not enough electrons). As the particles collide with each other they form visual electrical static or light, which we know as lightening. Similarly, the noise these particles make when they collide together is thunder. 

Here is a picture that our camp photographer, Mark took during the storm. Go to our Facebook page International Camp Suisse to see more of Mark’s wonderful photos of camp – let us know what you think of them by ‘commenting’!

Tags: Facebook International Weather