The Effects of Fog on the Atmospheric Electrical Field Close to the Surface

Yoav Yair, Roy Yaniv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ground-based measurements of the atmospheric electric field have been recorded continuously since 2013 at the Wise Observatory, located in the Negev Desert Highland in southern Israel. The data have been used for defining the characteristics of fair weather and to identify the signatures of dust storms, lightning activity, and clouds. We report here on new results from observations of the variability of the electric field (transformed into the potential gradient, PG) during several foggy days, along with meteorological data on wind speed and relative humidity. The results show a substantial increase in the electric field (up to 400–650 V m−1) compared with the mean fair weather values observed at the site (180–190 V m−1). This increase is especially clear during times of high relative humidity values (95%+) and low wind speed (<3 m s−1). This increase is likely a consequence of the reduction in the atmospheric conductivity at low levels, due to the attachment of charge carriers to fog droplets. Based on this discovery, it is suggested that continuously monitoring the electric field may offer an additional operational tool to alert for the onset and termination of fog at specific locations, such as airports and harbors, where this nowcasting capability is required.

Original languageEnglish
Article number549
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023
Externally publishedYes

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© 2023 by the authors.


  • electric field
  • fog


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