Atmospheric Electricity by John Alan Chalmers

By John Alan Chalmers

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That observations at the earth's surface cannot definitely locate the charges responsible for the potential gradients measured, but they can show that some charge distributions are possible and others not. 34. Relation between Atmospheric Meteorology Electricity and Although there was a period in the history of atmospheric electricity when meteorological phenomena were considered to be a "disturbing" influence on the "normal" atmospheric electrical phenomena, it has been increasingly realized that, in fact, the phenomena of atmospheric electricity are very closely bound up with meteorological phenomena and that each can contribute to the understanding of the other.

The fundamental fact is the change in conductivity, and the change in potential gradient is a consequence of this. The above discussion in terms of current density gives all the information that might be required in regard to the values of the potential gradients at different heights, without needing to take any account of space charges. However, to obtain a complete picture of the location of charges we can consider lines of force, the density of which gives the potential gradient. If a positive potential gradient decreases on rising, there must be fewer lines of force higher up than lower down, and the missing lines of force must have positive charges at their upper ends, giving a positive space charge and hence an excess of positive over negative ions.

The matters here discussed have been carried further by KASEMIR (1963, 1965 b). 30. Validity of Ohm's Law DOLEZALEK (1960 b) considered in some detail the question whether OHM'S law is valid in atmospheric-electric phenomena. , DOLEZALEK considered other possible deviations from OHM'S law, namely, any dependence of ion density or of mobility on potential gradient or current density; of these, the only one which might be significant is the influence of current density on ion density and this is unlikely to matter in the free atmosphere.

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