Russian physicists Alex Gurevich and Anatoly Karashtin found evidence that lightning occur under the influence of cosmic rays, as they report in an article published in the journal Physical Review Letters. For the first time, this theory was proposed by Gurevich in 1992 and since then has remained a subject of debate.
At the moment there is no single scientific consensus is that causes the formation of lightning. One of the most common views is that they arise from the friction of ice crystals and hail. But since the behavior of lightning is unpredictable, and monitor them very difficult to maintain, no one was able to prove the validity of this theory. Another theory, proposed by Gurevich 20 years ago, lightning formed during cosmic ray collisions with drops of water present in the storm clouds. Now he, along with a colleague, found evidence for his theory.
Gurevich suggests that cosmic rays cause ionization of the air in the storm clouds, forming a set of free electrons.
Scientists have measured and analyzed the radio waves in storm clouds during lightning.
Gurevich and Karashtin installed equipment to monitor the storm clouds over Russia and Kazakhstan, recording the level of radio waves during the 3800 lightning. It turned out that hundreds or even thousands of short radio wave pulses occurred at the moment of formation of lightning. And more importantly, the level of pulses up to those models that Gurevich has developed in the past.