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Characteristics of Raindrop Charge and Associated Electric Field in Different Types of Rain

A. Mary SelvamIndian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Poona 411 005, India

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G. K. ManoharIndian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Poona 411 005, India

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L. T. KhemaniIndian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Poona 411 005, India

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Bh V. Ramana MurtyIndian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Poona 411 005, India

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Abstract

Simultaneous measurements of raindrop charge, atmospheric electric field and rain intensity were made at Poona using fast response, continuous recording surface instruments during four types of rain: pre-monsoon (thunderstorm rain), monsoon rain type I (tight intermittent rain), monsoon rain type II (heavy continuous rain) and post-monsoon (thunderstorm rain). Measurements were also made of the conductivity of rainwater samples collected during the monsoon season. On some days of this period data on cloud thickness as obtained from the aircraft flights in the region were also available.

The electric field associated with negatively charged raindrops was less negative than that associated with positively charged drops. The raindrop charge spectrum showed different characteristics during the four types of rain studied. It was broadest during the pre-monsoon rain when the convective activity was a maximum. It followed a log-normal distribution during the monsoon rain type I and it was peaked and skewed to the positive side during the monsoon rain type II. Rainwater conductivity was inversely correlated with the cloud vertical thickness. The results of the present study support the warm cloud charge generation mechanism proposed by Takahashi (1974).

Abstract

Simultaneous measurements of raindrop charge, atmospheric electric field and rain intensity were made at Poona using fast response, continuous recording surface instruments during four types of rain: pre-monsoon (thunderstorm rain), monsoon rain type I (tight intermittent rain), monsoon rain type II (heavy continuous rain) and post-monsoon (thunderstorm rain). Measurements were also made of the conductivity of rainwater samples collected during the monsoon season. On some days of this period data on cloud thickness as obtained from the aircraft flights in the region were also available.

The electric field associated with negatively charged raindrops was less negative than that associated with positively charged drops. The raindrop charge spectrum showed different characteristics during the four types of rain studied. It was broadest during the pre-monsoon rain when the convective activity was a maximum. It followed a log-normal distribution during the monsoon rain type I and it was peaked and skewed to the positive side during the monsoon rain type II. Rainwater conductivity was inversely correlated with the cloud vertical thickness. The results of the present study support the warm cloud charge generation mechanism proposed by Takahashi (1974).

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