Electric Field of the Atmosphere

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Electric Field of the Atmosphere


a stationary electric field created by space charges in the atmosphere (see), by the intrinsic charge of the earth, and by charges induced in the atmosphere.

Characteristic properties of the electric field of the atmosphere, that is, its intensity and potential, also depend on the distribution of atmospheric conductivity and therefore on meteorological factors, such as fog, clouds, precipitation, snowstorms, and dust content, and on ionization of the atmosphere and volcanic eruptions (seeCONDUCTIVITY, ATMOSPHERIC). For this reason, the electric field of the atmosphere is different in different parts and undergoes substantial variations with time. The intensity of the atmosphere’s electric field near the earth’s surface depends on the contour of the terrain—it is stronger near projecting topographical features, buildings, and high towers and weaker near depressions and on city streets. (See alsoATMOSPHERIC ELECTRICITY.)


Imianitov I. M., and E. V. Chubarina. Elektrichestvo svobodnui atmosfery. Leningrad, 1965.
Imianitov I. M., E. V. Chubarina, and Ia. M. Shvarts. Elektrichestvo oblakov. Leningrad, 1971.
Chalmers J. A. Atmosfernoe elektrichestvo. Leningrad, 1974. (Translated from English.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.