Earth's Atmospheric Global Electric Circuit at the Frontiers of Earth System Science

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When we talk about the Global Electric Circuit we are describing how electricity naturally flows around the earth throughout the entire atmosphere. Electricity in the atmosphere can be affected by huge events like solar storms and cosmic rays down to small things like individual clouds. While we have known since Benjamin Franklin's time that electricity exists in the atmosphere, scientists are just beginning to understand the relationships between the different events that affect it. Could the amount of electricity in the atmosphere change the way clouds and storms develop? Could solar events impact the severity of winter storms? By doing basic research and creating computer models, scientists hope to answer these kind of questions - and perhaps find answers to questions we didn't even think to ask. Researchers at the University of Colorado, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Pennsylvania State University, and elsewhere are at the frontiers of science with research on Earth's global electric circuit sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

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Tags
atmospheric science, how the atmosphere works

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