Strong electric fields observed during snow storms on Mt. Hermon, Israel

Yoav Yair, Yuval Reuveni, Shai Katz, Colin Price, Roy Yaniv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We report observations of the behavior of the vertical component of the atmospheric electric field (Ez) during several snow storms, which occurred in December 2016 on top of Mount Hermon in northern Israel (33°18.3′N, 35°47.2′E, altitude 2020 m). The data was obtained at the Emilio Segre Cosmic ray Observatory (ESO) a site that continuously monitors atmospheric electrical parameters as well as gamma radiation from cosmic rays and ground level radon and radon progeny (Reuveni et al., 2017). The Ez observations were made with a CS-110 unit mounted on a 3 m pole sampled at 1 Hz, and the obtained Ez values were averaged and smoothed. Meteorological data, including ambient temperatures and hourly accumulated precipitation amounts (rain or snow) were obtained from the Israeli Hydrological Service station on the upper funicular station, at the same altitude of the ESO. During several snow episodes with snow rates >1 mm hr−1, there were very large fluctuations of the electric field with maximum values of ±2.5·104 V m−1, exhibiting polarity reversals on a time scale of several minutes. There is a complex relationship between the snowfall rate, the ambient temperature and the magnitude of the electric field fluctuations. The observed behavior of the electric field maps the wind speed, snowfall rate and the charge carried by the snow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-213
Number of pages6
JournalAtmospheric Research
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019


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