Recombination Limits on Charge Separation by Hydrometeors in Clouds

C. B. Moore New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro 87801

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Abstract

Several Of the modern hypotheses that explain thundercloud electrification by charge transfers between particles in clouds do so by ignoring any recombination effects in subsequent interactions of the products of earlier charge separations. As this approach is unrealistic, solutions of the continuity relations for the concentrations of the neutral and of the charged cloud droplets are provided. These show that the concentrations of developed charged droplets are probably appreciably less than estimated in the hypotheses involving precipitation. Similarly, as shown by Colgate, recombination also limits the charge carried downward by falling hydrometeors. Accordingly, the sustained charge-separating ability of sedimenting precipitation is open to question.

Abstract

Several Of the modern hypotheses that explain thundercloud electrification by charge transfers between particles in clouds do so by ignoring any recombination effects in subsequent interactions of the products of earlier charge separations. As this approach is unrealistic, solutions of the continuity relations for the concentrations of the neutral and of the charged cloud droplets are provided. These show that the concentrations of developed charged droplets are probably appreciably less than estimated in the hypotheses involving precipitation. Similarly, as shown by Colgate, recombination also limits the charge carried downward by falling hydrometeors. Accordingly, the sustained charge-separating ability of sedimenting precipitation is open to question.

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