I just came to know that pH of rain water will be lesser when it is accompanied by a thunderstorm than when it is not accompanied by thunderstorm.
Why would it be so?
Will the temperature increase due to excessive friction (of air) and lighting and thus more ions of water will dissociate reducing the pH?
Or will it be because of production of acids in air during thunderstorm? Help.

  • $\begingroup$ Where'd you see this? Do you have a reference or two you can share? $\endgroup$ – Todd Minehardt Feb 15 '16 at 20:26
  • $\begingroup$ @ToddMinehardt It was a question asked in a national level examination. I don't have much of a reference though. $\endgroup$ – Quark Feb 15 '16 at 20:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ books.google.co.in/… Here is the question $\endgroup$ – N A Feb 16 '16 at 2:23

Though I've never heard of that statement before, it's possible that nitrogen oxides formed by electrostatic discharge (not only lightning, but even glow discharge) dissolve in the rainwater, producing nitrous and nitric acids.

There is a 1997 citation describing comparison of pH in rain accompanied (or not) by lightning.

That said, presence of fly-ash from coal burning, sulfur oxides from volcanic activity and carbon dioxide from natural as well as anthropogenic sources probably have greater influence on pH.


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