Space Science Reviews

, Volume 137, Issue 1, pp 355–372

Charge Structure and Dynamics in Thunderstorms


DOI: 10.1007/s11214-008-9338-z

Cite this article as:
Stolzenburg, M. & Marshall, T.C. Space Sci Rev (2008) 137: 355. doi:10.1007/s11214-008-9338-z


The electrical structure inside thunderstorm clouds and the changes with time of this structure are fundamental parameters for atmospheric electricity studies on Earth. This paper gives a review of the current state of knowledge about thunderstorm charge structure based primarily on in-cloud vertical profiles through different types of deep convective clouds, cirriform anvil clouds, and stratiform precipitation regions associated with mid-latitude mesoscale convective systems. Results on the dynamical evolution of the vertical charge structure during the early and decay stages from series of balloon soundings through small thunderstorms are described, along with recent findings regarding the importance of the charge structure in determining the current contribution of small and large thunderstorms to the Earth’s global electrical circuit.


Thunderstorm electricityAtmospheric electric chargeThunderstorm electrical evolutionMesoscale convective systemGlobal electric circuit

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physics & AstronomyUniversity of MississippiUniversityUSA