Readers of my series may know I have some 'radical' ideas about lightning... that I freely plagiarized from Shadona and now call my own :)
Basically, conventional wisdom is that lightning is caused by ice crystals rubbing against one another in a storm... which I think is laughable.
Here we have a sun, blasting electrically charged particles at us at millions of miles per hour, rubbing that charged plasma against the atmosphere in the mornings and rubbing with the atmosphere in the evening. If a child rubs a balloon against their hair it'll build up static electricity, but according to the brightest minds in science, an atmosphere rubbing against charged particles gives us something far less significant than ice particles bumping against one another in a storm.
Anyway, my theory of lightning is based off of seeing sparks dance along the ignition wires of an old Ford on a foggy day.
Dry air is a fantastic insulator and thus no lighting (dancing sparks) but add fog/conductors and you have lightning. Lightning being this massive electric charge bleeding through from the solar charged 'friction' building up in the upper atmosphere, shorting down to the ground through pockets of humidity.
In Patent Mine I predicted that the 'shield' would form over cities in part because it was attracted to the electromagnetism and in part because of the tall, heavily grounded metal buildings. We are starting to see this with lightning storms already, though scientists mistakenly believe it is caused by thermal island effect, which is easily disproven.
I predict that you can trigger lightning with any suitable conductive gas so long as it is tall enough (miles), in the book I used superconducting ceramics in a kind of man-made commit to draw lighting strikes. And there is actual facts backing it up, rockets used to use a fuel that had aluminium, but they tended to get hit by lightning a lot, even on clear days. You can, and we do, draw lighting with rockets and a few miles of thin wire.
First 'sprites' are helping to prove part of my equation that lightning is passing through clouds, not originating in them. Sprites, for those not following, are massively powerful bolts of lightning that flow UP from clouds into space, well documented from the spacestation.
Now this, lightning is strongest in the morning, when the atmosphere is rubbing against the rays of the sun. :)