Does lightning help green things up after a thunderstorm?

Weather Blog

Dear Tom,
We had lots of lightning in the storms that hit early Friday morning. Does it really help green things up after a thunderstorm?
—Todd Truby
Dear Todd,
You bet it does. The greening of grass and other vegetation is a positive benefit of lightning. Plants require nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous for good growth. Nitrogen is used in the greatest quantity and must be constantly replenished. It is estimated that globally, t-storms produce up to 175 billion pounds of nitrogen annually. A lightning strike generates tremendous heat (50,000+ degrees F), “fixing” or combining normally inert atmospheric nitrogen with oxygen, which then combines with rainwater to form dilute nitric acid. When this falls to Earth, it combines with other soil minerals, yielding plant fertilizing nitrates.

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