Ionic Charge Emission Into Fog From a Remotely Piloted Aircraft

R. Giles Harrison, Keri A. Nicoll, Graeme J. Marlton, Douglas J. Tilley, Pejman Iravani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (SciVal)


Charge influences the properties of liquid droplets, such as evaporation rates, hydrodynamic stability, and sticking probabilities. Modifying droplet charge therefore provides a possible method of influencing fogs or clouds. An instrumented, remotely piloted aircraft has been equipped with positive and negative corona emitters to cause droplet charging. With the aircraft circling at 20 m altitude, effects of ion release were compared in clear air and natural fog. In clear air, the surface atmospheric electrical field changed whenever the emitters were activated, but without significant differences in the short-wave radiation as the aircraft passed over previously ionized air. In fog, radiation fluctuations showed a Gaussian distribution before either emitter operated or when both emitters were operating, but with different distributions during unipolar ion emission. Introducing unipolar ions led to a maximum change in fog reflectivity of ∼2%, about 25 s later.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2022GL099827
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number19
Early online date3 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2022


  • aerosol
  • charge
  • cloud
  • geoengineering
  • UAV
  • weather modification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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