Thunder starts as a shockwave from the explosively expanding lightning channel when a large current causes rapid heating. However, it is possible that you might see lightning and not hear the thunder because it was too far away.
Does heat lightning make noise?
The cracking sound of lightning is thunder, which results from the rapid expansion of hot and cold air masses. Another reason no sound accompanies heat lightning is the idea that thunder travels much more slowly than light, and it’s unlikely to hear thunder from a distance greater than 10 miles.
Flashes of heat lightning are simply too far away for an observer to hear the accompanying thunder. These flashes are created by lightning bolts in thunderstorms that are more than ten miles away.
Why doesn’t Heat Lightning have a sound?
Another reason no sound accompanies heat lightning is the idea that thunder travels much more slowly than light, and it’s unlikely to hear thunder from a distance greater than 10 miles.
Why does Lightning make noise?
Thunder, the sound that follows lightning, comes from rapid air expansion around the lightning bolt. The heat from lightning causes the air around the bolt to reach temperatures of over 40,000 degrees Fahrenheit rapidly. The heated air compresses then explodes outwards, forming a shock wave and creating a loud noise.
METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY If a lightning strikeis a sufficient distance from the observer, sound from the strike will not be heard. These silent bolts are called heat lightning. Lightning bolts produce thunder, but the thunder sounddoes not travel all the way to the observer if the observer is too far away.
You may be asking “Why do lightning bolts make noise?”
Lightning bolts are most often vertical. Their vertical form causes individuals to hear the sound waves closest to the ground first followed by the sound waves from higher up. Rumbling sounds happen when sound waves from different parts of a jagged or forked lightning bolt reach the ears in a series.
Another popular question is “What is the sound of lightning called?”.
The sound of all this silent lightning is called Seddapleet. The movement of sound in the atmosphere depends on the properties of the air, such as temperature and density. Because temperature and density change with height, the sound of thunder is refracted through the troposphere.
What is heat lightning and what causes it?
Heat lightning may be one of the most misused weather terms during the summer months, but it is likely not what you think it is. Many people believe heat lightning is produced by hot and humid conditions, lighting up the night sky without any rain or thunder in the immediate area. Lightning in northern Idaho.
What is Heat Lightning?
Heat lightning is not to be confused with electrically-induced luminosity actually generated at mesospheric altitudes above thunderstorm systems (and likewise visible at exceedingly great ranges), a phenomenon known as ” sprites “. The movement of sound in the atmosphere depends on the properties of the air, such as temperature and density.
While heat lightning is really just ordinary lightning from a far away thunderstorm, the typical sound of rumbling thunder is muffled either by long distances or by a blocking, mountainous terrain. The cracking sound of lightning is thunder, which results from the rapid expansion of hot and cold air masses.
Why do we see Heat Lightning in summer?
So an association has been made with sultry temperatures. But when the sky is hazy, as is quite typical on warm, summer nights, the light from intense thunderstorms as far away as 100 miles can be reflected off a layer of haze and up into the night sky. And that’s why you tend to see heat lightning as just a diffuse flash or flicker.
One question we ran across in our research was “Is it possible to see heat lightning?”.
This theory is completely false, and heat lightning does not actually exist. The flashes of light you are seeing are indeed lightning, but the lightning is from a distant thunderstorm far enough away where the sound of thunder doesn’t travel all the way to where you’re observing it from.