Terms of Reference

The role of the Committee on Atmospheric Electricity is to

  1. provide a focal point for those working and studying in atmospheric electricity and related fields;
  2. promote the dissemination of basic and applied research results, in part, by sponsoring one or more AMS conferences that cover topics within the field of atmospheric electricity;
  3. encourage the integration of atmospheric electricity with other disciplines in the atmospheric sciences. For example, the Committee encourages the submission of papers that include atmospheric electricity to various other AMS conferences as appropriate;
  4. promote the study and application of lightning and other atmospheric electricity data in warnings and forecasts of hazardous weather for time scales ranging from minutes to days;
  5. foster the study and implementation of lightning forecasting and warning processes and the study and dissemination of best practices in lightning safety;
  6. recognize the outstanding accomplishments of colleagues within the atmospheric electricity community through active participation in the AMS Awards and Fellows nomination process and
  7. serve the AMS as a reference, referee, representative, or spokesperson, as requested by the Council.

The Committee on Atmospheric Electricity includes within its area of interest all electrical processes occurring in the atmosphere of the earth and to some extent in the atmospheres of the other planets. We exclude no areas but emphasize atmospheric electricity and its relationship to all types of weather in the troposphere. Aspects of this discipline include the study of cloud electrification and lightning, relationships between cloud microphysical and kinematic processes and cloud electricity, and the role of cloud electricity in large storms and storm systems as an indicator of storm development. A broad array of potential applications derives from the relationship between cloud electricity and storm development. Another broad area of study is concerned with describing the spatial and temporal variations in the fair-weather tropospheric electric field and the understanding of the entire global circuit, including applications to climate and climate change studies. A third broad area of research deals with the effects of atmospheric electricity and lightning on atmospheric chemistry (and vice versa) and the chemistry and physics of ions in the atmosphere. Interests here include the lightning production of trace gases in the troposphere, ion chemistry, charged aerosols, air pollution, and other modifiers of the conductivity and net charge of air.