Precipitation Static and Electrical Properties of Blowing Snow at Byrd Station, Antarctica

  1. A. H. Waynick
  1. John R. Herman

Published Online: 14 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/AR004p0221

Geomagnetism and Aeronomy: Studies in the Ionosphere, Geomagnetism and Atmospheric Radio Noise

Geomagnetism and Aeronomy: Studies in the Ionosphere, Geomagnetism and Atmospheric Radio Noise

How to Cite

Herman, J. R. (1965) Precipitation Static and Electrical Properties of Blowing Snow at Byrd Station, Antarctica, in Geomagnetism and Aeronomy: Studies in the Ionosphere, Geomagnetism and Atmospheric Radio Noise (ed A. H. Waynick), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/AR004p0221

Author Information

  1. Research and Advanced Development Division, AVCO Corporation, Wilmington, Massachusetts

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1965

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875901046

Online ISBN: 9781118664537

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Keywords:

  • Noise power;
  • Polar cap absorption (PCA);
  • Pulse repetition rate;
  • Radio-noise data;
  • Static and blowing snow

Summary

Electrostatically charged snow and ice particles blown up from the ground by high winds (blizzards) interact with exposed antennas and generate radio noise which can cause radio communication failure or loss of data dependent on radio-measuring techniques. In this report National Bureau of Standards radio-noise data obtained at Byrd station, Antarctica, during blowing snow are analyzed to establish the magnitude of such noise power, its frequency dependence, and its relation to the wind velocity of the blizzard. Eight fixed frequencies between 51 kc/s and 20 Mc/s are considered. It is shown that precipitation static associated with blowing snow can raise the noise power at least 50 db above atmospheric and man-made levels and can cause loss of such radio data 10–30% of the time in winter and spring months. For the frequency range 51 kc–2.5 Mc/s the noise field strength varies inversely with frequency, and the slope increases from –0.5 to –1.0 as the wind velocity decreases from 57 to 21 knots. The field strength for 1.0 Mc/s varies directly with wind speed. The noise power apparently decreases more rapidly with increasing frequency above 2.5 Mc/s than below it. Using the radio-noise data, it has been possible to deduce some properties of the snow particles borne along by the wind during blizzards. In one instance, the average electrostatic charge per particle was found to be 1.1 (10−15) coulomb, with the charge per gram of suspended snow being 2.7 (10−10) coulomb per gram. In the same instance, the number density of particles containing a charge q appeared to vary inversely with q2. The space charge created by this blizzard appears to have been about 5 (10−10) coulomb/m3.