, Volume 137, Issue 1-4, pp 355-372
Date: 03 Apr 2008

Charge Structure and Dynamics in Thunderstorms

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The electrical structure inside thunderstorm clouds and the changes with time of this structure are fundamental parameters for atmospheric electricity studies on Earth. This paper gives a review of the current state of knowledge about thunderstorm charge structure based primarily on in-cloud vertical profiles through different types of deep convective clouds, cirriform anvil clouds, and stratiform precipitation regions associated with mid-latitude mesoscale convective systems. Results on the dynamical evolution of the vertical charge structure during the early and decay stages from series of balloon soundings through small thunderstorms are described, along with recent findings regarding the importance of the charge structure in determining the current contribution of small and large thunderstorms to the Earth’s global electrical circuit.