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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-23
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-23
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  24 Apr 2020

24 Apr 2020

Review status
A revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal ACP and is expected to appear here in due course.

Large-scale ion generation for precipitation of atmospheric aerosols

Shaoxiang Ma1, He Cheng1, Jiacheng Li1, Maoyuan Xu1, Dawei Liu1, and Kostya Ostrikov2 Shaoxiang Ma et al.
  • 1State Key Lab of Advanced Electromagnetic Engineering and Technology, School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, WuHan, HuBei 430074, China
  • 2Institute for Future Environments and School of Chemistry and Physics, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland 4000, Australia

Abstract. Artificial rain is explored as a remedy to climate change caused farmland drought and bushfires. Increasing the ion density in the open air is an efficient way to generate charged nuclei from atmospheric aerosols and induce precipitation or eliminate fog. Here we report on the development of the large commercial installation scale atmospheric ion generator based on corona plasma discharges, experimental monitoring and numerical modeling of the parameters and range of the atmospheric ions, and application of the generated ions to produce charged aerosols and induce precipitation at a scale of a large cloud chamber. The coverage area of the ions generated by the large corona discharge installation with the 7.2 km long wire electrode and applied voltage of −90 kV is studied under prevailing weather conditions including wind direction and speed. By synergizing over 300 000 localized corona discharge points, we demonstrate a substantial decrease of the decay of ions compared to a single corona discharge point in the open air, leading to a large-scale (30 m × 23 m × 90 m) ion coverage. Once aerosols combine with the generated ions, charged nuclei are produced. The higher wind speed has led to the larger areas covered by the plasma generated ions. The cloud chamber experiments (relative humidity 130 ± 10 %) suggest that the charged aerosols generated by ions with the density of ~ 104/cm3 can accelerate the settlement of moisture by 38 %. These results are promising for the development of large-scale installations for the effective localized control of atmospheric phenomena.

Shaoxiang Ma et al.

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Shaoxiang Ma et al.

Shaoxiang Ma et al.

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Latest update: 30 Sep 2020
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Short summary
Our work suggests that the large corona discharge system is an efficient and possibly economically sustainable way to increase the ion density in the open air and control precipitation of atmospheric aerosols. Once the system is installed on the mountain top, it will generate lots of charged nuclei, which may trigger water precipitation or fog elimination within a certain region in the downwind directions.
Our work suggests that the large corona discharge system is an efficient and possibly...
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