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STUDIES IN GEOPHYSICS The Earth's Electrical Environment Geophysics Study Committee Geophysics Research Forum Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Resources National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1986
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NATIONALACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue,N.W. Washington,DC 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the Na- tional Research Council, whose members are drawn from the Councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee respon- sible for this report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Acad- emy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was established by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and of advising the federal government. The Council operates in accordance with general policies determined be; the Academy under the authority of its congressional charter of 1863, which establishes the Academy as a private, nonprofit, self-governing membership corporation. The Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in the conduct of their services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. It is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine were established in 1964 and 1970, respectively, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences. The Geophysics Study Committee is pleased to acknowledge the support of the National Science Founda- tion (Grant EAR-8216205), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey (Grant 14-08-001-G1111), and the Department of Energy (Grant DE-FGO2-82ER12018) for the conduct of this study. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data The Earth's electrical environment. (Studies in geophysics) Based on papers presented at the American Geophysical Union meetings in June 1983, Baltimore, MD. Includes bibliographies and index. 1. Atmospheric electricity-Environmental aspects- Congresses. 2. Man-Influence of environment- Congresses. I. National Research Council (U.S.). Geophysics Study Committee. II. American Geophysical Union. III. Series. QC960.5.E27 1986 551.5'6 86-8782 ISBN 0-309-03680-1 Printed in the United States of America ~o^AS ~ational~Academy Press v The National Academy Press was created by the National Academy of Sciences to publish the reports issued by the Academy and by the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council, all operating under the charter granted to the National Academy of Sciences by the Congress of the United States.
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Pane! on the Earth' s Electrical Environment E. PHILIP KRIDER, University of Arizona, Co-chairman RAYMOND G. ROBLE, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Co-chairman R. V. ANDERSON, Naval Research Laboratory KENNETH V. K. BEARD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign WILLIAM L. CHAMElDES, Georgia Institute of Technology ARTHUR A. FEW, JR., Rice University GIOVANNI P. GREGORI, Istituto di Fisica dell Atmosfera, Rome WOLFGANG GRINGEL, Universitat Tubingen DAVID J. HOFMANN, University of Wyoming WILLIAM A. HOPPEL, Naval Research Laboratory EDWIN KESSLER, NOAA Severe Storms Laboratory PAUL R. KREHBlEL, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology LOUIS J. LANZEROTTI, AT&T Bell Laboratories ZEV LEVIN, Tel Aviv University HARRY T. OCHS, Illinois State Water Survey RICHARD E. ORVILLE, State University of New York at Albany GEORGE C. REID, NOAA Aeronomy Laboratory ARTHUR D. RICHMOND, National Center for Atmospheric Research JAMES M. ROSEN, University of Wyoming W. DAVID RUST, NOAA Severe Storms Laboratory ISRAEL TZUR, National Center for Atmospheric Research MARTIN A. UMAN, University of Florida JOHN C. WILLETT, Naval Research Laboratory Staff THOMAS M. USSELMAN · . ~ 111
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Geophysics Study Committee ARTHUR E. MAXWELL, The University of Texas at Austin, Chairman tALLEN F. AGNEW, Geological Consultant, Corvallis, Oregon tRlCHARD A. ANTHES, National Center for Atmospheric Research tD. JAMES BAKER, Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Inc. *COLIN BULL, Mercer Island, Washington GORDON P. EATON, Texas A&M University DEVRIE S. INTRILIGATOR, Carmel Research Center *NICHOLAS C. MATALAS, U. S. Geological Survey, Reston J. MURRAY MITCHELL, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration *V. RAMA MURTHY, University of Minnesota tRlCHARD J. O'CONNELL, Harvard University tMARTlN WALT, Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, Inc. FERRIS WEBSTER, University of Delaware Liaison Representatives RALPH ALEWINE, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency BRUCE B. HANSHAW, U.s. Geological Survey, Reston GEORGE A. KOLSTAD, Department of Energy MICHAEL MAYHEW, National Science Foundation NED OSTENSO, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration SHELBY TILFORD, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Staff THOMAS M. USSELMAN *Terms ended June 30, 1985. tTerms began July 1, 1985. 1V
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Geophysics Research Forum DON L. ANDERSON, California Institute of Technology, Chairman STANLEY I. AUERBACH, Oak Ridge National Laboratory JOHN J. BOLAND, The Johns Hopkins University THOMAS M. DONAHUE, University of Michigan CHARLES L. DRAKE, Dartmouth College PETER S. EAGLESON, Massachusetts Institute of Technology W. GARY ERNST, University of California, Los Angeles JOHN D. HAUN, Evergreen, Colorado WILLIAM W. HAY, University of Colorado CHARLES L. HOSLER, The Pennsylvania State University DEVRIE S. INTRILIGATOR, Carmel Research Center KEITH A. KVENVOLDEN, U. S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park C. GORDON LITTLE, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration CHARLES J. MANKIN, Oklahoma Geological Survey ARTHUR E. MAXWELL, The University of Texas at Austin FRANK B. McDONALD, National Aeronautics and Space Administration WALTER H. MUNK, University of California, San Diego JACK E. OLIVER, Cornell University EUGENE N. PARKER, The University of Chicago FRANK E. PARKER, Vanderbilt University HOWARD J. PINCUS, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee PAUL W. POMEROY, Rondout Associates, Inc. RICHARD H. RAPP, The Ohio State University ROGER R. REVELLE, University of California, San Diego VERNER E. SUOMI, University of Wisconsin Madison FERRIS WEBSTER, University of Delaware GUNTER E. WELLER, University of Alaska v
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Ex Officio JOHN D. BOSSIER, National Geodetic Survey ROBERT K. CRANE, Dartmouth College FRANK D. DRAKE, University of California, Santa Cruz ROBERT HOFSTADTER, Stanford University Staff PEMBROKE J. HART V1
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Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Resources HERBERT FRIEDMAN, National Research Council, Chairman CLARENCE R. ALLEN, California Institute of Technology THOMAS D. BARROW, Standard Oil Company, Ohio (Retired) ELKAN R. BLOUT, Harvard Medical School BERNARD F. BURKE, Massachusetts Institute of Technology GEORGE F. CARRIER, Harvard University CHARLES L. DRAKE, Dartmouth College MILDRED S. DRESSELHAUS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology JOSEPH L. FISHER, George Mason University JAMES C. FLETCHER, University of Pittsburgh WILLIAM A. FOWLER, California Institute of Technology GERHART FRIEDLANDER, Brookhaven National Laboratory EDWARD D. GOLDBERG, Scripps Institution of Oceanography MARY L. GOOD, Allied Signal Corporation J. ROSS MacDONALD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill THOMAS F. MALONE, Saint Joseph College CHARLES J. MANKIN, Oklahoma Geological Survey PERRY L. McCARTY, Stanford University WILLIAM D. PHILLIPS, Mallinckrodt, Inc. ROBERT E. SIEVERS, University of Colorado JOHN D. SPENGLER, Harvard School of Public Health GEORGE W. WETHERILL, Carnegie Institution of Washington IRVING WLADAWSKY-BERGER, IBM Corporation RAPHAEL G. KASPER, Executive Director LAWRENCE E. McCRAY, Associate Executive Director · ~ V11
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Studies in Geophysics* ENERGY AND CLIMATE Roger R. Revelle, panel chairman, 1977, 158 pp. CLIMATE, CLIMATIC CHANGE, AND WATER SUPPLY James R. Wallis, panel chairman, 1977, 132 pp. ESTUARIES, GEOPHYSICS, AND THE ENVIRONMENT Charles B. Officer, panel chairman, 1977, 127 pp. THE UPPER ATMOSPHERE AND MAGNETOSPHERE Francis S. Johnson, panel chairman, 1977, 169 pp. GEOPHYSICAL PREDICTIONS Helmut E. Landsberg, panel chairman, 1978, 215 pp. IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY ON GEOPHYSICS Homer E. Newell, panel chairman, 1979, 121 pp. CONTINENTAL TECTONICS B. Clark Burchfiel, Jack E. Oliver, and Leon T. Silver, panel co-chairmen, 1980, 197 pp. MINERAL RESOURCES: GENETIC UNDERSTANDING FOR PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS Paul B. Barton, Jr., panel chairman, 1981, 118 pp. SCIENTIFIC BASIS OF WATER-RESOURCE MANAGEMENT Myron B. Fiering, panel chairman, 1982, 127 pp. SOLAR VARIABILITY, WEATHER, AND CLIMATE John A. Eddy, panel chairman, 1982, 106 pp. CLIMATE IN EARTH HISTORY Wolfgang H. Berger and John C. Crowell, panel co-chairmen, 1982, 197 pp. *Published to date. viii
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FUNDAMENTAL RESEARCH ON ESTUARIES: THE IMPORTANCE OF AN INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACH Charles B. Officer and L. Eugene Cronin, panel co-chairmen, 1983, 79 pp. EXPLOSIVE VOLCANISM: INCEPTION, EVOLUTION, AND HAZARDS Francis R. Boyd, Jr., panel chairman, 1984, 176 pp. GROUNDWATER CONTAMINATION John D. Bredehoeft, panel chairman, 1984, 179 pp. ACTIVE TECTONICS Robert E. Wallace, panel chairman, 1986, 266 pp. THE EARTH'S ELECTRICAL ENVIRONMENT E. Philip Krider and Raymond G. Roble, pane! co-chairmen, 1986, 263 pp. 1X
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Preface This study is part of a series of Studies in Geophysics that have been undertaken for the Geophysics Research Forum by the Geophysics Study Committee. One purpose of each study is to provide assessments from the scientific community to aid policymakers in decisions on societal problems that involve geophysics. An important part of such assessments is an evaluation of the adequacy of current geophysical knowledge and the appropriateness of current research programs as a source of information required for those decisions. The Earth's Electrical Environment was initiated by the Geophysics Study Commit- tee and the Geophysics Research Forum with consultation of the liaison representatives of the agencies that support the Geophysics Study Committee, relevant committees and boards within the National Research Council, and members of the scientific commu- nity. How does atmospheric electricity affect man and his technological systems? Is our electrical environment changing as a result of air pollution, the release of radioactive materials, the construction of high-voltage power lines, and other activities? It is clear that modern technological advances can be seriously affected by various atmospheric electrical processes and that man is also beginning to affect the electrical environment in which he resides. The study reviews the recent advances that have been made in independent research areas, examines the interrelations between them, and projects how new knowledge could be applied for benefits to mankind. The study also indicates needs for new re- search and for the types of coordinated efforts that will provide significant new ad- vances in basic understanding and in applications over the next few decades. It empha- sizes a need to consider the interactions between various atmospheric, ionospheric, and telluric current systems that will be necessary to achieve an overall understanding of global electrical phenomena. The preliminary scientific findings of the authored chapters were presented at an X1
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· ~ X11 PREFACE American Geophysical Union symposium in Baltimore in June 1983. In completing their chapters, the authors had the benefit of discussion at this symposium as well as the comments of several scientific referees. Ultimate responsibility for the individual chap- ters, however, rests with their authors. The Overview of the study summarizes the highlights of the chapters and formulates conclusions and recommendations. In preparing the Overview, the panel co-chairmen and the Geophysics Study Committee had the benefit of meetings that took place at the symposium and the comments of the panel of authors and other referees. Responsibility for the Overview rests with the Geophysics Study Committee and the co-chairmen of the panel.
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Contents Overview and Recommendations I. LIGHTNING 1. Lightning Phenomenology Richard E. Orville 2. Physics of Lightning .... E. Philip Krider 3. Positive Cloud-to-Ground Lightning . W. David Rust 4. Acoustic Radiations from Thunderstorms Arthur A. Fee), Jr. 5. Applications of Advances in Lightning Research to Lightning Protection ......................... MartinA. Uman 6. The Role of Lightning in the Chemistry of the Atmosphere .................................... William L. Chameides II. CLOUD AND THUNDERSTORM ELECTRICITY 7. Thunderstorm Origins, Morphology, and Dynamics Edwin Kessler · · - X111 .. 23 30 41 ........... 46 ......... 61 ..... 70 . . . . . ... 81
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XIV CONTENTS 3. The Electrical Structure of Thunderstorms . Paul R. Krehbie! 9. Charging Mechanisms in Clouds and Thunderstorms Kenneth V. K. Beard and Harry T. Ochs 10. Models of the Development of the Electrical Structure of Clouds .... Zen Levin and Israel Tour III. GLOBAL AND REGIONAL ELECTRICAL PROCESSES Il. Atmospheric Electricity in the Planetary Boundary Layer William A. HoppeZ, R. V. Anderson, and John C. Wi[Zett 12. Electrical Structure from 0 to 30 Kilometers ............ Wolfgang Gringel, lames M. Rosen, and David I. Hofmann 13. Electrical Structure of the Middle Atmosphere George C. Reid 14. Upper-Atmosphere Electric-Field Sources ...... Arthur D. Richmond 15. The Global Atmospheric-Electrical Circuit Raymond G. Roble and Israel Tour . . . . . . . . 16. Telluric Currents: The Natural Environment ant] Interactions with Man-made Systems ...... Louis J. Lanzerotti and Giovanni P. Gregori Index .... .. 90 Il4 131 ... 149 ... 166 IS3 .. 195 ....... 206 232 259
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STUDIES IN GEOPHYSICS
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