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Electric Field Enlarges Raindrops beneath Electrified Clouds: Observational Evidence
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  • Sunil D Pawar,
  • V. Gopalakrishnana,
  • Earle R. Williams
Sunil D Pawar
Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology

Corresponding Author:pawar@tropmet.res.in

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Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology
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V. Gopalakrishnana
Indian Institute pf Tropical Meteorology
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Earle R. Williams
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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Simultaneous measurements of cloud electric field and raindrop size at the surface have been analysed to investigate an anticipated relation between the two cloud parameters. A significant positive correlation is observed between the magnitude of the surface electric field and raindrop size supported by a theoretical framework advanced here. It is shown that in the presence of an electric field, raindrops increase their sizes through electrically-induced collision and coalescence processes near the Earth's surface. This study also demonstrates that the presence of an electric field inside the cloud can enhance the rain intensity by influencing the growth rate of raindrops. This new insight may be useful for a proper understanding of the rain microphysics and for developing better numerical weather models for simulation and forecasting of heavy rainfall events associated with stronger in-cloud electrical environments.