The electric fields in thunderstorms can exceed the breakdown value locally near ice particles present in thunderclouds. But are fields high enough and the regions large enough to initiate a streamer discharge? And where would a sufficient density of free electrons come from to start the discharge in the humid air that rapidly binds electrons in water-clusters?
Energy (theme 4)
Cosmic Lightning
International Conference on Phenomena in Ionized Gases
This work was funded by the The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO); grant id nwo/12PR3041-2 - Cosmic Lightning
Multiscale Dynamics

A. Dubinova, A, Rutjes, C, Ebert, U, Buitink, S, Scholten, O, & Trinh, T.N.G. (2015). Lightning inception from ice particles and extensive air showers. In Proceedings of International Conference on Phenomena in Ionized Gases 2015 (ICPIG 32) (pp. 1–4).