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Durham e-Theses
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Atmospheric electric charge transfer in precipitation and associated synoptic conditions

Aspinall, W. P. (1969) Atmospheric electric charge transfer in precipitation and associated synoptic conditions. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Measurements of Atmospheric Electricity have been made in the unpolluted air of Weardale during conditions of precipitation and in fair weather. An automatic recording system has been built to digitize instrument outputs on paper-tape for subsequent computer analysis. The system ivas installed and run at Lanehead Field Centre and was also used to process magnetic tape recordings from the LandRover mobile station. The system was expanded to include an 1-hour smoothing and sampling action for recording aveiaged values of fair weather Atmospheric Electricity. At times of electrically quiet precipitation, measurements have been made of potential gradient, precipitation current density, space charge density and both polar conductivities. A new method of compensation for displacement currents has been used. Conductivity measurements have revealed a charge separation process close to the ground in rain, but not in snow. Techniques of variance spectrum analysis have been adopted for the precipitation work. Coherency spectra of potential gradient with precipitation current have indicated electrical 'cells' in nimbostratus and their relevance to weather forecasting is discussed. The phase spectra for these two parameters have been examined to measure the height of electrical activity and this is found to coincide with the melting level, and an estimate is made of the conductivity of the charging region of the cloud. Digital filtering of records has disclosed a mechanical-transfer current of space charges, to an exposed rain receiver, opposite to the precipitation current. The diurnal variation of potential gradient at Lanehead has been refined with a further year's continuous observations in fair weather and seasonal differences in the diurnal variations of potential gradient, air- earth -current density and space charge density have been explained by increased convection in summer. The conduction current has been estimated, by the indirect method and the difference between this and the total air-earth current to an exposed plate is attributed to a mechanical-transfer current of space charges. Measurements in light winds have evinced the influence of the electrode effect.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1969
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 Nov 2013 15:44

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