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Physics Colloquium: Cloud Microphysical Responses to Weak Electric Charges in Clouds: An Overlooked Natural Mechanism for Climate Change
Wednesday, Nov 11, 2015
4 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. Location: SLC 1.102

Dr. Brian Tinsley (UT Dallas)

27 years ago, I started looking at the evidence for solar-activity effects on weather and climate, and beginning with multiple working hypotheses, and building on the work of others, I have identified a mechanism involving electric charges on cloud-condensation nuclei (CCN) and ice-forming nuclei (IFN) in clouds. The electric charges come from attachment of atmospheric ions (from cosmic-ray ionization) onto CCN and IFN, and produce changes in the rate at which they collide and are collected by droplets. This affects CCN concentrations and changes the rate of contact and immersion ice nucleation. These changes provides pathways for the very small amount of atmospheric electrical energy (outside thunderstorms) to affect the partitioning of much larger amounts of energy in cloud and cyclonic systems. Atmospheric ionization is redistributed by currents in the global atmospheric electric circuit, due both to low latitude thunderstorms and the solar wind. The mechanism also explains high-latitude responses due to the day-to-day changes in the output of low-latitude thunderstorms.

Contact Info:
Michael Kesden, 972-883-3598
Questions? Email me.

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