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Title: EGATEC: A new high-resolution engineering model of the global atmospheric electric circuit - Currents in the lower atmosphere
Authors: Odzimek, A.
Lester, M.
Kubicki, M.
First Published: 23-Sep-2010
Publisher: American Geophysical Union (AGU); Wiley
Citation: Journal of Geophysical Research D: ATMOSPHERES, 2010, 115 (18)
Abstract: [1] We present a new high-resolution model of the Earth's global atmospheric electric circuit (GEC) represented by an equivalent electrical network. Contributions of clouds to the total resistance of the atmosphere and as current generators are treated more realistically than in previous GEC models. The model of cloud current generators is constructed on the basis of the ISCCP cloud data and the OTD/LIS lightning flash rates and TRMM rainfall data. The current generated and the electric resistance can be estimated with a spatial resolution of several degrees in latitude and longitude and 3 hour time resolution. The resistance of the atmosphere is calculated using an atmospheric conductivity model which is spatially dependent and sensitive to the level of solar activity. An equivalent circuit is constructed assuming the ionosphere and ground are ideal conductors. The circuit solution provides diurnal variations of the ionospheric potential and the GEC global current at the 3 hour time resolution as well as the global distributions and diurnal variations of the air-Earth current density and electric field. The model confirms that the global atmospheric electric activity peaks daily at ∼21 UT. The diurnal variation of the ionospheric potential and the global current have a maximum at 12 and 21–24 UT in July and at 9 and 21 UT in December, and a global minimum at 3–6 UT independent of season. About 80% of the current is generated by thunderstorm convective clouds and 20% by mid-level rain clouds.
DOI Link: 10.1029/2009JD013341
ISSN: 0148-0227
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Rights: Copyright © 2010 by the American Geophysical Union. All rights reserved. Archived with reference to Usage Permissions granted to authors, available at
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy

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