10 Jun 2022
10 Jun 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal HGSS.

Atmospheric electricity at Lerwick Geophysical Observatory

R. Giles Harrison1 and John C. Riddick2,a R. Giles Harrison and John C. Riddick
  • 1Department of Meteorology, Earley Gate, University of Reading, Reading. RG6 6ET UK
  • 2Lockerbie, Scotland
  • aformerly at: British Geological Survey

Abstract. Atmospheric electricity measurements were made at Lerwick Observatory, Shetland, between 1925 and 1985. These principally provide a long series of hourly Potential Gradient (PG) measurements at an unpolluted site, but also include air-earth current density measurements during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The methodology employed at Lerwick to provide the PG measurements is described. There is renewed international interest in such measurements, not least because the Lerwick PG data have been shown to be linked to Pacific Ocean temperature anomalies. The past measurements described have characterised the Lerwick site exceptionally well in atmospheric electrical terms, which also indicate its suitability for future similar measurements.

R. Giles Harrison and John C. Riddick

Status: open (until 08 Jul 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • EC1: 'Comment on hgss-2022-6', Kristian Schlegel, 13 Jun 2022 reply
  • RC1: 'Comment on hgss-2022-6', Anonymous Referee #1, 25 Jun 2022 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on hgss-2022-6', Anonymous Referee #2, 27 Jun 2022 reply

R. Giles Harrison and John C. Riddick

R. Giles Harrison and John C. Riddick


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Short summary
Lerwick Observatory in Shetland has recently celebrated its centenary. Measurements of atmospheric electricity where made at the site between 1925 and 1985. Instruments and equipment used for this are discussed and the value of the measurements obtained assessed. A major aspect of the atmospheric electricity work was explaining the dramatic changes which followed the nuclear weapons tests period. Although less well known, there are strong parallels with the discovery of the ozone hole.