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Why static electricity increases into fall and winter

Astronautical fall is just four short days away. The average high will only continue to fall increasingly in the coming week and months. This means dew points are also on their way to following the same trend of decreasing in this same time span.

During the spring and summer months, dew points increase allowing for a more near saturated environment. An increase in moisture in the environment means charges surrounding ones body can be conducted and dispersed away easier.

During the fall and winter months, a decrease in the moisture content of the environment means charges are not as easily conducted away from ones body. This allows for people to possibly have an uneven positive charge whenever creating friction such as rubbing socks on carpet. Whenever someone goes to touch another object such as a metal phone or any other great conductor that holds a negative charge, a sudden jolt known as a shock can be felt. This occurs as protons are transferred to the negatively charged item in order to create an equilibrium.

Another instance of this shock occurs whenever clothes are rubbing against each other in a dryer. The dryer creates a ramped up version of the previous example as the air is warmed even greater without moving the dew points creating a greater difference in these two metrics. That's why clothes without a dryer sheet seem to be more charged during the fall and winter months.

Article Topic Follows: Weather

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Chance Gotsch

Chance Gotsch grew up just south of St. Louis and moved to Columbia to attend the University of Missouri to pursue a degree in Atmospheric Sciences.

His interest in weather begin as a child when he used to be afraid of storms.

Chance joined the ABC 17 Stormtrack Weather Team in February 2021. He is currently the weekday noon meteorologist.


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