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  • Author or Editor: B. Vonnegut x
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H. H. Jonsson
B. Vonnegut


Apparatus has been designed and constructed for real-time measurements of the electrical conductivity of rainwater. It utilizes a spinning disk that centrifuges and collects the rainwater failing on it A micro conductivity cell is employed, which consists only of electrodes, and needs no embodiment to sustain the rain sample during measurement. Instead the liquid is retained between the electrodes by its own surface tension. Only the order of a microliter of rain water is needed to obtain a inclement. The system's response time is about a second. Test runs during thunderstorms and frontal rains reveal that variations in conductivity by up to a factor of 5 occur during a storm event. Maximum conductivities of up to 160 μS cm−1 usually occurred at the beginning of the storms. In one thunderstorm rainwater conductivity as low as 5 μS cm−1 was measured for a duration of a few minutes.

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J. D. McTaggart-Cowan
G. G. Lala
, and
B. Vonnegut


An aircraft instrument is described that gives a real-time measurement of the number of ice crystal particles per unit volume in cirriform clouds. Its method of detection is based on the mechanisms of contact electrification, as applied to the collision between a stainless steel wire and an ice crystal. The signal conditioner, which employs a series of integrated circuits, converts the frequency of crystal collisions into a voltage. Several examples of actual flights are shown.

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