Rain enhancement and fog elimination by seeding with charged droplets. Part I: Theory and numerical simulations

A. Khain*, V. Arkhipov, M. Pinsky, Y. Feldman, Ya Ryabov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


A new method of droplet collision acceleration, with the purpose of rain enhancement and fog elimination, is proposed. According to the method, some fraction of the droplets is taken from clouds (or fog) themselves, charged, and then injected back into clouds (or fog). To verify the efficiency of the method, a novel model has been developed, allowing simulation of droplet spectrum evolution by collision in case a certain fraction of the droplets in a droplet spectrum is charged. Simulations of droplet spectra evolution include several steps: (a) The forces arising between charged and neutral droplets, as well as between charged droplets, are calculated as the function of the value of the charges, droplet size, and distance between droplets. It is shown that because of the induction effect, significant attraction forces arise between charged and neutral droplets. (b) The results obtained have been used to calculate the collision efficiencies between charged and neutral, as well between charged droplets. As a result, a "four dimensional" table of the collision efficiencies (the collision efficiency is the function of the droplet size and charge) was calculated. The collision efficiencies between charged and neutral droplets turn out to be significantly higher than the pure gravity-induced values. (c) To accomplish these simulations, a novel numerical method of solving the stochastic collision equation has been developed. Cloud droplets are described by a two-dimensional size distribution function in which droplets are characterized by both their mass and charge. (d) This model, with the implemented table of the collision efficiencies, has been used to simulate droplet spectra evolution in clouds and fog in case some fraction of these droplets was charged. Simulations of the effects of seeding by charged droplets have been performed. Evolution of initially narrow droplet size spectra (typical of extremely continental clouds in highly smoky air), in the case of seeding and under natural conditions, has been simulated. It was shown that although a natural droplet spectrum does not develop and no raindrops are formed, the injection of just a small fraction of charged particles rapidly triggered the collision process and lead to raindrop formation a few minutes after the injection. Significant acceleration of raindrop formation has been found in the case of a maritime wide-droplet spectrum. Simulations of fog seeding were conducted using droplet spectra distributions of typical fog. Seeding by charged fog droplets of one or both polarities was simulated. In both cases a significant increase in fog visibility was found. The advantages of the seeding method proposed are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1513-1529
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2004


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