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Surface determination of the air-earth electrical current density using co-located sensors of different geometry

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2 Author(s)
Bennett, A.J. ; Department of Meteorology, The University of Reading, P.O. Box 243, Earley Gate, Reading, Berkshire RG6 6BB, United Kingdom ; Harrison, R.G.

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A vertical conduction current flows in the atmosphere as a result of the global atmospheric electric circuit. The current at the surface consists of the conduction current and a locally generated displacement current, which are often approximately equal in magnitude. A method of separating the two currents using two collectors of different geometry is investigated. The picoammeters connected to the collectors have a RC time constant of approximately 3 s, permitting the investigation of higher frequency air-earth current changes than previously achieved. The displacement current component of the air-earth current derived from the instrument agrees with calculations using simultaneous data from a co-located fast response electric field mill. The mean value of the nondisplacement current measured over 9 h was 1.76±0.002 pA m-2.

Published in:

Review of Scientific Instruments  (Volume:77 ,  Issue: 6 )