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Global Atmospheric Electric Circuit, Cosmic Rays and Cloud Height


Atmospheric electricity affects cloud height

For decades, scientists have argued over whether there is a link between cosmic rays and cloud cover, which in turn could affect climate. Now two atmospheric physicists in the UK have discovered that global atmospheric electricity – which itself is altered by cosmic rays, space weather and El Nino – affects the base height of certain types of clouds.

“Electric currents flow continuously throughout much of the atmosphere because of the global atmospheric electric circuit, and these currents sometimes pass through clouds,” explains Giles Harrison, who along with Maarten Ambaum did this latest study at the University of Reading…

…Thunderstorms and space weather

“The implications are that factors affecting currents flowing in the atmosphere – such as thunderstorms, cosmic rays and Pacific Ocean temperatures – may have distant effects on droplet properties in cloud bases,” says Harrison. “Particularly interesting is the possibility that space weather changes could affect weather in the lower atmosphere.”

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