Charge Transfer between Raindrops

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Science  15 Sep 1967:
Vol. 157, Issue 3794, pp. 1267-1269
DOI: 10.1126/science.157.3794.1267


Electric discharges between free-falling drops have been observed and studied quantitatively in the laboratory. These data and information from terrestrial thunderstorms suggest that augmentation of the UHF temperature of thunderstorms by discharges could amount to 117°K. If similar discharges occurred in the atmosphere or on the surface (or in both regions) of Venus, 1.4 x 106 discharges per second per square meter would be required to produce the microwave temperature observed (approximately 650°K). It is not probable that such radiation supplies the whole microwave temperature observed; some fraction must be true thermal radiation as described by Plummer and Strong (9), in which case the probable number of required discharges is reduced accordingly.