The discharging current in the atmosphere due to the small conductivity of air is known to be 1800 A on an average over the globe. Why then does the atmosphere not discharge itself completely in due course and become electrically neutral? In other words, what keeps the atmosphere charged?
The occurrence of thunderstorms and lightning charges the atmosphere continuously. Hence, even with the presence of discharging current of 1800 A, the atmosphere is not discharged completely. The two opposing currents are in equilibrium and the atmosphere remains electrically neutral.