Two daily smoke maxima in eighteenth century London air
Harrison, R. G. (2009) Two daily smoke maxima in eighteenth century London air. Atmospheric Environment, 43 (6). pp. 1364-1366. ISSN 1352-2310
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2008.11.034
Varied electrostatics experiments followed Benjamin Franklin's pioneering atmospheric investigations. In Knightsbridge, Central London, John Read (1726–1814) installed a sensing rod in the upper part of his house and, using a pith ball electrometer and Franklin chimes, monitored atmospheric electricity from 1789 to 1791. Atmospheric electricity is sensitive to weather and smoke pollution. In calm weather conditions, Read observed two daily electrification maxima in moderate weather, around 9 am and 7 pm. This is likely to represent a double diurnal cycle in urban smoke. Before the motor car and steam railways, one source of the double maximum smoke pattern was the daily routine of fire lighting for domestic heating.