Watts of Ligtning

  1. If given the decibels from the thunder and the distance away the lightning struck, would it be possible to tell the amount of electricity in that bolt of lightning? If so, a formula would be much appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dotini

    Dotini 756
    Gold Member

    Apparently decibels don't figure into it.

    After consulting Martin A. Uman's basic reference book on lightning, I summarize the following:

    From measurement of the time of arrival of the first sound of thunder we can determine the distance to the closest point of the lightning channel.

    From the thunder's duration we can determine a minimum length for the channel.

    Generally the pitch of thunder is 50 cycles per second. From measurement of pitch and use of appropriate theory, scientists have determined the energy input per unit length of lightning stroke channel (100,000 to 1,000,000 watt-seconds per yard of channel length).

    Thunder pitch is also influenced by air density and altitude.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2014
  4. davenn

    davenn 4,369
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2014 Award

    .... and proximity !! :smile:

    the closer it is the sharper and higher frequency the crack. compared to long distance low frequency rumbles

    1 person likes this.
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