A one-dimensional model of the atmospheric electric field near the Venusian surface

I. Tzur*, Z. Levin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A numerical model is used to simulate the buildup of an electric field from below the Venusian cloud layer to the surface. The steady-state profiles of the ion concentration, net space charge, diffusion and conduction current, and electric field are calculated. Two electric field sources are considered. The first is that produced by the higher diffusivity of positive ions relative to negative ions, which results in charging the surface with a net positive charge. The results show that the magnitude of the electric field and the net space charge developed near the surface are mainly dependent on the mixing conditions in the boundary layer. However, even in the case of relatively strong mixing, the maximum electric field is found to be 1.5 V m-1 and it decays rapidly above 100 m. The second source of an electric field is assumed to be charge separation inside Venusian clouds. A steady-state conduction current in the region below the layer of clouds which represents the intensity of charge separation inside the clouds is used as a parameter. When this parameter is assumed to be 10-12 A m-2, which is about the fair-weather conduction current in the atmosphere of Earth, an electric field of 5 kV m-1 is developed near the surface. This electric field exists up to a few kilometers, decreases by an order of magnitude at about 20 km, and then decays rapidly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-353
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1982
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
National Science Foundation
National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationW-15,028


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