What are natural phenomena occurring in the atmosphere?

A huge number of different phenomena take place in the atmosphere. According to their physical nature, they can be divided into 5 large groups.

The first group (precipitation)

The first group unites the phenomena associated with precipitation. This includes rain, hail, snow, freezing rain, etc. All water particles falling out of the atmosphere (snowflakes, hailstones, raindrops) are called the general word hydrometeors. Precipitation occurs due to the fact that air has a limited ability to saturate with water vapor, and the amount of water vapor that it can hold depends on its temperature. When unsaturated air is cooled, it becomes already oversaturated, as a result of which condensation of hydrometeors and their fallout occurs. The formation of frost, the formation of icicles, ice, and other phenomena associated with condensation of water on surfaces fall into the same category.


The second group (lithometeors)

The second group of phenomena is associated with lithometeors. This is the name for small particles of substances that are not water. First of all, these are sand and dust. Accordingly, dust and sand storms, dust haze, etc. fall into this category.


The third major group (optical phenomena)

The third major group is optical phenomena. The most famous of these is the rainbow. It arises from the refraction of sunlight by the atmosphere. When refracted, white light, which is a combination of light waves of different lengths, is expanded into several rays of different colors, each of which corresponds to its own wavelength. Also, optical phenomena can arise from diffraction and interference of light waves. Dawn, mirages, a green ray, a change in the light of clouds, etc. fall into this category. It should be noted separately that the northern lights are not an optical phenomenon, since they do not arise due to the distortion of light waves.


The fourth group (electrical phenomena)

The fourth group is formed by electrical phenomena. These are thunderstorms, lightning (including ball), polar lights. The aurora borealis occurs in the upper atmosphere (in the magnetosphere) due to its interaction with the solar wind. Note that the nature of ball lightning is still a mystery to researchers. Interestingly, if the Earth’s surface itself has a negative charge, then the upper layers of the atmosphere (starting from an altitude of 50 km) are positive. As a result, the Earth creates its own electric field.


The fifth group

Finally, the fifth group includes all other phenomena that do not belong to the first four groups. First of all, these are phenomena associated with the wind – hurricanes, tornadoes, squalls.