In inquiry we collaborated on a SOLO thinking map and summary to identify the causes and effects of a thunderstorm.
Rain is essential in supporting life on earth. Rain provides water for people, animals and plants. However not all rainfall has a positive effect on living things. Thunderstorms are one way in which rain falls to earth.
Thunderstorms occur when warm, moist air within a rain cloud, rises in large volumes and with increasing speed. The warm air encounters cooler temperatures at high altitudes. This leads to cooling and condensation of vapour to form water droplets and hail. These condensed particles start descending, causing turbulence within the cloud. Turbulence causes the cumulonimbus to erupt violently, unleashing the electrical activity within, at times with heavy rain.
The effects of a thunderstorm can be devastating. Firstly extreme rainfall can lead to flooding. Floods can destroy property, livestock and crops. One example of the devastation that can be caused by flooding occurred in 1927. In 1927, the Mississippi River flooded killing 500 people and leaving 600,000 people homeless. (Weather Works)
A further effect of thunderstorms is lightning strikes. Lightning strikes have been known to starts fires when they strike trees. People have also been struck by lightning causing instant death.
Not all the effects of thunderstorms are negative. Large amounts of rainfall can help crops to grow and stay healthy. Rainfall also increases water levels in dams, needed for the generation of electricity.
Overall research suggests that thunderstorms have a mostly negative impact on earth. Whilst rainfall is essential for life on earth it would be better if rain fell gradually over a period of time rather than in extreme volumes.