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Atmospheric electricity observations at Eskdalemuir Geophysical Observatory

Harrison, R. G. ORCID: and Riddick, J. C. (2024) Atmospheric electricity observations at Eskdalemuir Geophysical Observatory. History of Geo- and Space Sciences. ISSN 2190-5029 (In Press)

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Atmospheric electricity measurements, principally of the hourly Potential Gradient (PG) were made continuously at Eskdalemuir Observatory, Scotland, (55.314° N, 356.794° E) between 1911 and 1981. Air ion properties were also determined. The sensing apparatus for PG measurement at Eskdalemuir initially used a Kelvin water dropper potential equaliser (1911-1936), followed by a radioactive probe from 1936 and, from 1965, a horizontal stretched wire sensor at 0.5 m, all attached to recording devices. Monthly mean PG data from these instruments is now available digitally. Originally, the data was classified into undisturbed and disturbed days, using the chart record (electrogram). This approach has deficiencies at Eskdalemuir due to mist, fog and calm conditions, which can influence the mean PG despite the day appearing undisturbed on the electrogram. Nevertheless, a correlation with Pacific Ocean temperature fluctuations is apparent in the Eskdalemuir PG data between 1911 and 1950. As at Lerwick, there was an abrupt decrease in the PG caused by nuclear weapon detonations in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The 1950s PG decrease began at Eskdalemuir before that at Lerwick, for which possible additional local factors are evaluated.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:115129
Publisher:Copernicus Publications

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