From AMS Glossary
Revision as of 18:31, 25 April 2012 by Perlwikibot
The process by which electrically stressed air is transformed from an insulator to a conductor.
Breakdown involves the acceleration of electrons to ionization potential in the electric field imposed by the thundercloud, and the subsequent creation of new electrons that avalanche and expand the scale or enlarge the volume of enhanced conductivity. Breakdown precedes the development of lightning.