As the negative charges collect at the bottom of the cloud it forces the negative
charges in the ground to be forced away from the surface. This leaves the ground

A streamer of negative charges is repelled by the bottom of the cloud and attracted by
the ground.

As this streamer of negative charges approaches the ground, a streamer of positive
charges is repelled by the ground and attracted to the negative streamer.

When the two streamers connect, they have created a fairly conductive path which
allows a sudden down surge of electrons to jump to the ground. This is the lightning.

The rapidly moving electrons excite the air along the path so much that it emits light.
It also heats the air so intensely that it rapidly expands creating thunder.

One thing to notice is that the positive charges that make up both the cloud and the
ground do not move. Even the positive streamer launched by the ground is really only
made up of positively charged air particles because the electron(s) left the particle.

After air begins to cool and then becomes saturated, sublimation or condensation starts the
cloud-forming process. The air within the newly formed cloud layer is either stable or
unstable. This stability or instability will determine the type of cloud structure. This is
because stable air resists convection while unstable air prefers convection. Cloud formation
in stable air develops horizontally in uniform, sheet-like layers called "strata". When an
unstable layer of air is forced upward by convection, a cloud forms vertically. How high into
the atmosphere the cloud shapes itself depends upon the depth of the unstable layer. These
clouds tend to pile up in a heap or "cumulus." They are characterized by their lumpy, billowy
shapes. Vertical heights of cumulus clouds vary from the shallow fair weather cumulus to the
giant thunderstorm cumulonimbus clouds. The convection process occurring in unstable air
will give a bumpy ride to an airplane passing through it. In stable air flying is usually smooth.

All in all clouds give pilots and others who monitor the weather an indication of air motion,
stability and moisture. For basic identification purposes, clouds are divided into four families:
high clouds, middle clouds, low clouds and vertically advanced clouds

ICING AND TEMPERATURE. —Aircraft icing is generally limited to the layer of the
atmosphere lying between the freezing level and the –40°C isotherm. However, icing has
occasionally been reported at temperatures colder than –40°C in the upper parts of

Icing is more variable in cumuliform clouds because many factors conducive to icing depend greatly on the stage of development of the cloud. For the most part. Although icing occurs at all levels above the freezing level in a building cumulus. Our land-based experience with SCWD is limited to freezing rain or freezing drizzle. This water droplet—existing at temperatures below freezing—is referred to as a super-cooled water droplet (SCWD). however.000 feet of the troposphere. (2) a mixture of clear and rime. and their ranges.cumulonimbus and other clouds. SCWD will freeze on your aircraft . Icing in these types of clouds is usually clear or mixed. and in a dissipating thunder-storm. Contact with any portion of an aircraft during flight will provide such a disturbance. to a shallow layer near the freezing level. In the air. however. SCWD exists in cloud. The types of icing generally associated with temperature. icing is generally restricted to the updraft regions. with possible rime occurring at lower temperatures. 15°C to –20°C. In general. it is most intense in the upper half of the cloud. the melting process begins immediately. and (3) rime. At the core of the icing problem is a basic fact of physics: when ice crystals are warmed to above freezing temperatures. The normal vertical temperature profile is such that icing is usually restricted to the lower 30. -10°C to –15°C. becoming rare at temperatures below –30°C. it does not freeze until it reaches a very cold temperature—possibly as low as -40° C. 0°C to –10°C. Cumuliform Clouds. and it will instantly freeze if it is disturbed. Icing intensities may range from generally light in small supercooled cumulus to moderate or severe in cumulus congestus and cumulonimbus. The most severe icing occurs in cumulus congestus clouds just before their change to cumulonimbus. the frequency of icing decreases rapidly with decreasing tempera-ture. any time you fly in cloud at below-freezing temperatures. —The zone of probable icing in cumuliform clouds is smaller horizontally but greater vertically than in stratiform clouds. are (1) clear. In a mature cumulonimbus. when a water droplet is cooled to below freezing temperatures.