The Global Electric Circuit

Quantifying the Effect of the Upper Atmospheric Electric Potential on Lower Atmospheric Temperature and Pressure

Start date
1 January, 2012
End date
31 December, 2014

Weather and climate prediction are inevitably limited by incomplete knowledge of the Earth system and its external influences. One under-explored and consequently controversial area of research is the meteorological influence of the Sun through processes other than direct radiation, such as variations in the Earth-ionosphere electric potential in the global electric circuit driven by solar wind-magnetosphere-ionosphere interactions. Previous work has suggested that a relationship exists (often termed the Mansurov effect) but previous correlations have been indirect and the effects most likely underestimated.

The high-level objectives of the proposed project are:

(1) To identify and quantify any correlations between the solar wind-driven polar ionospheric electric potential and lower atmospheric temperature and pressure.

(2) To assess the significance of any correlations and their potential consequences for the modelling and prediction of weather and climate.