2021-03-1 12:17:52

Maximum strength of the atmospheric electric field

PHYSICAL REVIEW D 103, 043021 (2021)
 Understanding the maximum potential difference (i.e. voltage) inside thunderstorms is one of
the fundamental problems of atmospheric physics directly connected with the enigma of the
lightning initiation. In 1925 C.T.R. Wilson estimated the maximum potential difference in the
atmosphere to be a few gigavolts: “A particle may thus acquire energy corresponding to the
greater part of the whole potential difference between the poles of the thundercloud, which
may be of the order of 109 V” [1]. In a talk at the Franklin Institute in 1929 [2] he presented
detailed calculations..