Beta Test: The Mystery Of Nighttime Thunderstorms On The Plains

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Photo: Lightning featured image (iStock)

Nighttime thunderstorms out on the Great Plains have confounded scientists for a long time. Their daytime counterparts form, in part, because the ground is heated by the sun. That heats the air directly above, and as that warm air rises it aids in storm formation. But at night? That's a bit of a mystery that the PECAN campaign -- Plains Elevated Convection at Night -- hopes to solve in a project that that will run through July 15.

Twelve government agencies, 27 universities, and more than 250 scientists hope to improve their ability to predict when and where these storms will strike. Tammy Weckwerth, a scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, is the lead investigator. She spoke with Ryan Warner from Hays, Kansas. Click on the audio above to hear the conversation.