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Cosmic Dusty Plasma and the Global Electric Circuit of the Earth


The model of the global electric circuit of the Earth (GECE) is considered, which is inseparably linked with the processes in space plasma. The Earth is surrounded by cosmic plasma consisting of electrons, ions, and negatively charged dust particles. Dust particles easily penetrate through the magnetic field and the atmosphere and charge the surface of the Earth negatively. The stationary electric state is achieved when the current carried by the negative dust particles and the current of positively charged ions accelerated in the surrounding plasma become equal. Positive ions penetrate into the atmosphere through the regions with the northern and southern latitudes to altitudes of the order of 100 km, where they become nonmagnetized and can move parallel to the surface of the Earth, performing additional ionization in the anomalous structure of the E-layer, and creating the fair-weather current (of approximately 1500 A). The ions forming the fair-weather current are uniformly deposited on the negatively charged surface of the Earth. Using the data on the average dust flux onto the Earth surface and the value of the fair-weather current, it was found that the mean size of a dust particle is rd ≈ 4 × 10–7 m, its mass is md ≈ 5 × 10–17 kg, and its charge is Qd ≈ 10–16 C. The formation, charging, and discharging of clouds, as well as the causes for the effect of cosmic dust on the Earth’s weather, are discussed in the paper.

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Correspondence to A. V. Kostrov.

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Translated by I. Grishina

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Kostrov, A.V. Cosmic Dusty Plasma and the Global Electric Circuit of the Earth. Plasma Phys. Rep. 46, 443–451 (2020).

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  • global electrical circuit of the Earth
  • cosmic dusty plasma
  • fair-weather current
  • charging of clouds
  • anomalous E-layer