Surface measurements of the atmospheric electrical parameters like Maxwell current, electric field and conductivity studied at the Indian station, Maitri (70.75°S, 11.75°E, 117m above mean sea level), Antarctica, during austral summer have been analyzed for the years 2001 to 2004. A total of 69 days were selected which satisfied the ‘fairweather’ conditions, i.e., days with absence of high winds, drifting or falling snow, clouds, and fog effects. The diurnal variation curve of electric field and vertical current averaged for 69 fairweather days is a single periodic with a minimum at 03:00UT and a maximum near 19:00UT, which is very similar to the Carnegie curve. The correlation coefficient between these measured parameters has a high value (more than 0.9) for all the days. During fairweather days the measured current and field variations are similar and hence it is clear that the conductivity is more or less stable. During magnetically disturbed days, the dawn-dusk potential drop has clear influences on the diurnal variation and it modifies the conductivity. Apart from the day-to-day variation in low latitude thunderstorm activity, there are diurnal, seasonal, inter-annual variations in the electric potential and the currents, as well as solar influences on the measured parameters. This study will help us to examine the impact of solar and geophysical phenomena like solar flares, geomagnetic storms and substorms on the global electric circuit.
Volume 131, 2022
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