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Atmospheric Dc Corona Effect Ionization As A Potential Tool For Aerosol Deposition: An Experiment

Phillip Kauffman, Arquimedes Ruiz-columbie


High concentrations of ions produced by cosmic rays have an effect on the fair weather electric field which may produce significant and observable changes in local aerosol population properties.  Cosmic ray ions may lower nucleation barriers promoting charged nanoparticle growth into the Aitken range and even beyond 100 nm to become cloud condensation nuclei. A twofold assumption was made.  On one hand, it was hypothesized that artificially generated direct current corona effect ions would become attached to existing aerosols and these charged aerosols would be far more effective than neutral aerosols in growing via condensation, coagulation and collision which would consequently enhance the deposition rate. On the other hand, the ions may behave as catalyzers of cloud microphysical processes if they reach the cloud bases. This paper evaluates the results obtained in an experiment designed to verify the enounced hypothesis. An ionization station was installed about 8 miles south of downtown Laredo, Texas, in order to measure the impact of unipolar, corona effect ionization on aerosol population and some meteorological phenomena. The station was operated from October, 2005 through August, 2007. Real time airborne spectrometer measurements were obtained and meteorological data were recorded. Data analyzed since the conclusion of the Laredo experiment produced no evidence to support the assumption that ionization had an impact on precipitation, but the hypothesis that ionization does produce gravitational deposition of atmospheric particles was supported by the airborne measurements performed.

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