AIR-EARTH CURRENTS MEASURED WITH RADIOSONDERS.
LITTON SYSTEMS INC MINNEAPOLIS MINN APPLIED SCIENCE DIV
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Measurements of air-earth current density were made over a period of six months over Minnesota. Instrumentation consisted of balloon-borne radiosonde-electrometer packages with long wire antennas. The balloons were set to float at about 21 km altitude and were tracked until the signal faded out. The average current density of all 30 flights independent of local time was found to be 1.2 x 10 to the -12th power Asq. m. The standard deviations of the fluctuations in the current density were computed. In general, the deviation was about 50 from ground level up to the end of the exchange layer, about 5 up to the tropopause, and about 1 above that. This shows that local disturbances do not allow measurements of total current density free of local influences below the tropopause and that measurements in the stratosphere can be used to study global current flows. Author