A lightweight balloon-carried cloud charge sensor

K. A. Nicoll, R. G. Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (SciVal)


Despite the importance of microphysical cloud processes on the climate system, some topics are under-explored. For example, few measurements of droplet charges in nonthunderstorm clouds exist. Balloon carried charge sensors can be used to provide new measurements. A charge sensor is described for use with meteorological balloons, which has been tested over a range of atmospheric temperatures from -60 to 20 degrees C, in cloudy and clear air. The rapid time response of the sensor (to >10 V s(-1)) permits charge densities from 100 fC m(-3) to 1 nC m(-3) to be determined, which is sufficient for it to act as a cloud edge charge detector at weakly charged horizontal cloud boundaries.
Original languageEnglish
Article number014501
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009


  • atmospheric electricity
  • atmospheric humidity
  • atmospheric temperature
  • balloons
  • clouds


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