A Time-Dependent Fluid Model for the Study of the Electrical Properties of GEC Sources

Monday, 15 December 2014
Sotirios A Mallios1, Jaroslav Jansky1 and Victor P Pasko2, (1)Pennsylvania State University Main Campus, University Park, PA, United States, (2)Penn State Univ, University Park, PA, United States
The Global Electric Circuit (GEC) is a circuit that is formed between the Earth’s surface, which is a good conductor of electricity, and the ionosphere, a weekly-ionized plasma at around 80 km altitude [e.g., Rycroft et al., Space Sci. Rev., 137(1-4), pp. 83-105, 2008]. It is accepted that thunderstorms are the main generators in the GEC [e.g., Williams, Atmospheric Research, 91, 140, 2009; Mareev, Physics Uspekhi, 53, 504, 2010]. In the current work, we developed a two-dimensional cylindrical time-dependent fluid model that takes into account several atmospheric processes, such as the ionization due to the galactic cosmic rays radiation, the ion-ion recombination, and the attachment of ions to cloud particles. The developed model is able to calculate self consistently the time dynamics of the conductivity, according to the time dynamics of the cloud particle charge density during the formation of thunderstorms/electrified clouds. We calculate the time dynamics of the electric field distribution, the charge density distribution and the current density distribution, and we compare them with the results obtained by a model that assumes constant conductivity distribution over time.