The measurement of atmospheric DC electric field by Sounding Balloon

  • 政修 邱

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The atmospheric electric field plays an important role in the theoretical models of the global electric circuit and the various types of the transient luminous events. In this thesis work, we develop a new experiment method to have an in-situ measurement of the vertical electric field up to the altitude of 30km to explore its spatial and temporal variation and the charge distribution. A lightweight electric field meter (EFM) is developed to measure the potential difference between two probes with a fixed distance and the electric field is derived directly by its definition. An in-lab facility with two parallel slabs to produce uniform electric field is designed carefully for the purpose of the calibration and test of the EFM. The metrological balloon is used as the flight carrier to deliver a 1kg-class payload to 30km height. We also develop compact and lightweight aviation electronics to obtain ambient metrological parameters. The results of the flight in May 31, 2012 are analyzed and reported in this thesis. The electric field meter flied over a growing convection system and measured the vertical electric field as well as ambient temperature, humidity, and magnetic field vector successfully. An exponential-decaying background electric field with altitude is observed. And we also identify several layer-distributed charges in different height, and the electric field become electrically neutral in the turbulent zone due the difficulty of the charge separation. A significantly variation of the electric field is also identified in the proximity of the convection system.
Date of Award2012
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorBing-Chih Chen (Supervisor)


  • Electric field measurement
  • Sounding balloon
  • Lightning
  • Transient Luminous Event

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