The effect of weather on corona ion emission from AC high voltage power lines

James C. Matthews*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


There is a natural potential gradient caused by global thunderstorm activity that can be measured from the ground using electric field mill meters. High voltage power lines can produce corona ions by ionising the air, depending on the ambient weather conditions. A fixed site monitoring station recorded atmospheric potential gradient and weather conditions near to two AC high voltage power lines throughout 2008. High humidity correlated with negative potential gradient both upwind and downwind of power lines and high wind speed correlated with greater potential gradient disruption. Rain caused the greatest disruption to potential gradient, causing negative fields and an increased standard deviation. Multiple regression analysis also showed that humidity and wind speed have an effect on the production of corona ions and quantile regression plots indicate a clear trend of decreasing mean potential gradient with increasing wind speed and relative humidity. (c) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-79
Number of pages12
JournalAtmospheric Research
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012


  • Space charge
  • Weather
  • Power lines
  • Atmospheric electricity
  • Corona ions


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