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March 27, 2017

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About 5.12 x 104 m above Earth's surface, the atmosphere is sufficiently ionized that it behaves as a conductor. The Earth and the ionosphere form a giant spherical capacitor, with the lower atmosphere acting as a leaky dielectric. Find the capacitance C of the Earth-ionosphere system by treating it as a parallel plate capacitor.

The fair-weather electric field is about 150 V/m, downward. How much energy is stored in this capacitor?

Due to radioactivity and cosmic rays, some air molecules are ionized even in fair weather. The resistivity of air is roughly 3.00 × 1014 ?· m. Find the resistance of the lower atmosphere that flows between the Earth's surface and the ionosphere.

Calculate total current that flows between the Earth's surface and the ionosphere.

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