Electricity in the Atmosphere: Ions in the Atmosphere

K. L. Aplin*, R. G. Harrison

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

1 Citation (Scopus)


Earth's atmosphere, like all planetary atmospheres, is constantly ionized by cosmic rays. Close to the surface, natural radioactivity is the dominant source of ionization. This article describes the generation and physical characteristics of atmospheric cluster-ions, including their size, composition, transport, and electrical properties, and gives an overview of relevant measurement technologies. The role of cluster-ions in weather and climate through modulating atmospheric particle formation and a range of other electrical effects is summarized. Nomenclature and categorization of atmospheric cluster-ions, and the properties of ions in the indoor environment are also briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Atmospheric Sciences
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9780123822260
ISBN (Print)9780123822253
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Aerosol
  • Charge
  • Condensation nuclei
  • Cosmic rays
  • Electric conduction
  • Ion attachment
  • Ion mobility
  • Ion recombination
  • Ion spectra
  • Nucleation


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