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ICAE Fall 2002 News Letter


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Paul Krehbiel announced to the Atmospheric Electricity community that Marx Brook passed away last September 3, while in the hospital following emergency abdominal surgery. Marx was born on July 12, 1920 in New York City. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Dorothy, and by children Janet, Jim, Georgia, and their families. Persons wishing to make a memorial contribution may do so by donating to the Esther and Abraham Brook Award Fund, established at Tech by Marx in memory of his parents, c/o Office for Advancement, New Mexico Tech, 801 Leroy Place, Socorro, NM 87801.

The outstanding tribute of Marx Brook to the field of atmospheric electricity cannot be summarized in a few words. A memorial writeup has been posted on the Langmuir Laboratory web page at:

http://www.ee.nmt.edu/~langmuir/mbrook.html .

You will find there substantial information on Marx career, discoveries and contributions to our discipline.



Piotr Baranski and Marek Kubicki announce:

With great regret we inform that on September 22, 2002 our outstanding coworker Stanislaw Warzecha died unexpectedly. He received his Ph.D. degree from the Department of Climatology at the University of Wroclaw, and joined our electricity group at the Institute of Geophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences in 1956. He was the head of the Swider Observatory of our Institute for many years, from 1971 to 1993, and the author of meteorological and atmospheric electricity data yearbooks of this Observatory, published in Series D of the Publications of the Institute of Geophysics since 1957.

Basing on the long term Swider recordings, he and other authors were able to analyze variations in electric elements in relation to natural (solar activity) and anthropogenic (aerosol, radioactive debris) factors. The long-term excellent-quality data he collected are now an indispensable background for statistical analyses of local and global trends of various environmental parameters. Of particular importance was his report on the response of atmospheric electricity elements to the Chernobyl power plant accident, which indicated that the electric conductivity measurements may serve as a relatively simple tool for monitoring the radioactive hazard.

His papers dealing with atmospheric ions, air pollution and radioactivity were published in Przeglad Geofizyczny and presented on several international and domestic conferences. Together with S. Michnowski he studied the problems of gas to particle conversion of air pollutants and environment problems of influence of atmospheric electric, aerosol and radioactive parameters on human body.

Being the expert in atmospheric mystery life connections, he was also very skillful and talented electronic constructor of ion counters, vibrational electrometers, field mills and collectors, electric field and current amplifiers, instruments indicating raindrop charges, and many others. He constructed these instruments according to his unique design, with great deal of invention, and they are still reliable and very useful in observatory practice.

He was a very good colleague and friend. We all, especially members of our atmospheric electricity group at the Institute of Geophysics, feel his loss deeply.



The research training network "Coupling of Atmospheric Layers" CAL - concerns thunderstorms, electrical- and space radiation effects in the stratosphere, mesosphere and lower thermosphere. The network will study unanswered questions relating to discharges in the stratosphere and mesosphere, also termed "high-altitude lightning", their relation to various aspects of the atmospheric system and the overall dynamic response of the atmospheric layers to forcing of the mesosphere and lower thermosphere regions by thunderstorm and solar activity.


The investigation focuses on the question: "are these high-altitude discharges only pretty and beautiful like rainbows, or do they significantly impact the atmosphere ?". To answer this question, the network studies 7 aspects:

(1.) Under what conditions do thunderstorms generate sprites and blue jets ?

(2.) What is the sprite discharge mechanism ?

(3.) What is the global rate of discharges ?

(4.) How is the global atmospheric electric circuit affected ?

(5.) What are the chemical changes to the stratosphere and mesosphere ?

(6.) How do the discharges modify atmospheric circulation ?

(7.) How do they affect the ionosphere ?

The CAL network began 1 November 2002 and has a duration of four years. It will interact with many research teams all over the world in connection with international observational campaigns during the northern summer. Positions are open until filled.

For more details, visit the CAL project webpage at: http://www.dsri.dk/cal .

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