© 2015

An Introduction to Lightning


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Vernon Cooray
    Pages 1-5
  3. Vernon Cooray
    Pages 7-27
  4. Vernon Cooray
    Pages 71-77
  5. Vernon Cooray
    Pages 91-116
  6. Vernon Cooray
    Pages 117-133
  7. Vernon Cooray
    Pages 135-165
  8. Vernon Cooray
    Pages 167-185
  9. Vernon Cooray
    Pages 217-231
  10. Vernon Cooray
    Pages 281-300
  11. Vernon Cooray
    Pages 301-330

About this book


This book about lightning summarizes the essence of physics and effects of lightning in a non-technical manner and provides an up-to-date description of the phenomenon of lightning in simple language. Starting with the myths related to lightning, the reader is introduced to the mechanism of lightning flashes and their interactions with humans, human-made systems and Earth’s environment. Most of the available books on lightning are written for the experts in the field and there is a need for a book that introduces the undergraduate and beginning post graduate students to the subject of lightning and prepares them for more advanced books meant for the experts. This introductory book, which is based on a series of lectures given to undergraduate and postgraduate students in electrical engineering, is intended to fill this need. Tailored to the needs of university students who plan to study electrical engineering, meteorology, environmental or basic physics, it is also a valuable reference resource for laymen who are interested in knowing more on this phenomenon.


Atmospheric Science Lightning Meteorology

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Engineering Sciences, Division for ElectricityUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

About the authors

Vernon Cooray received his Ph.D. degree in Electricity with special attention to electrical transients and electrical discharges from Uppsala University, Sweden, in 1982. In the year 2000, he was promoted to the rank of full professor in electricity with special attention to transients and electrical discharges at the division for electricity of Uppsala University. From 2000 – 2002 he was the head of the Division for Electricity in the Department of Engineering Sciences.

Vernon Cooray has authored and co-authored more than 400 scientific papers and 22 book chapters on Physics of Lightning and Electrical Discharges, Lightning Interaction and Electromagnetic Compatibility. He is the editor of three books, The Lightning Flash, published by IEE (London) in 2003, Lightning Protection published by IEE (London) in 2009 and Lightning Electromagnetics published by IEE (London) in 2012. Vernon Cooray is the Editor in chief of the Journal of Lightning Research. He was also a guest editor of two issues of Atmospheric Research and two issues of the J. Electrostatics. Vernon Cooray is the vice president of the scientific committee of the International Conference on Lightning Protection (ICLP) and a member of the scientific committee of the Symposium on Lightning Protection (SIPDA).

Bibliographic information


“In a clear and digestible manner, it provides detailed information about the physical processes involved in the lightning discharge and discusses the pertinent principles of lightning protection from the perspective of a general reader. … the book is clear and easy to digest, and it enables a student to obtain a solid understanding of the physical processes involved in the lightning discharge.” (Robert C. Moore, Physics Today, June, 2015)