Earth's charge

  • Thread starter leolaw
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How come the Earth is negatively charged?
 

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Astronuc
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Where did you hear or read that?

Do you mean the Earth including the atmosphere or just the earth's surface?

Electrons are much more easily removed from molecules in the air and clouds. Rain can carry the electrons to the earth where the negative charge is distributed. At some point, a lighting discharge occurs and some of the electrons travel up the arc back to the positive ions.

What is the Earth's charge?
The Earth is electrically charged and acts as a spherical capacitor. The Earth has a net negative charge of about a million coulombs, while an equal and positive charge resides in the atmosphere.

The electrical resistivity of the atmosphere decreases with height to an altitude of about 48 kilometres (km), where the resistivity becomes more-or-less constant. This region is known as the electrosphere. There is about a 300 000 volt (V) potential difference between the Earth's surface and the electrosphere, which gives an average electric field strength of about 6 V/metre (m) throughout the atmosphere. Near the surface, the fine-weather electric field strength is about 100 V/m.
from http://nofc.cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/science/research/lightning_e.html [Broken]

As far as I know, the Earth (including atmosphere is electrically neutral).
 
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