13 Jan 2011
"Mongols were allowed to be scared by thunder and lightning" Marco Polo .
We can look forward to something a bit more substantial .
Infrared radiation emitted during the formation stages of water droplet condensation can be stimulated into a infrared laser beam .
Warning : This technology can be assembled from existing bits and pieces within about 5 years .
See NewScientist 27 Nov 2010 p38 " Cloud Power"
Work by Brewster , Tatartchenko et al.
At the moment a water-cloud molecule joins a droplet , and the droplet is small enough , about 8% of the latent energy is released as infrared radiation .
The size is critical : notice similarity with Hawking radiation .
The direction of release can be skewed by stimulation at the same frequency , hence the "amplification by stimulated emission" tag .
Take a cumulo-nimbus cloud (or a hurricane if ambitious)
Seeded layers of silver iodide (or something similar) below and above will form a reflective cavity (a few kg) . Then zap the middle with rapid nucleization (another few kg) and infrared guide-lasers from orbital mirror .
Voila ! a megawatt cloud laser .
1.Turned earthward :
A weapon suitable for cooking many a goose .
2.Turned Spaceward :
2.1 Planetary Air-conditioning
Making the upper reflective layer slightly less reflective , means that the infrared laser will beam into space . Hence pumping energy out of the Earth-biosphere without unduly heating the surroundings .
A more attractive and much safer scenario than the ones proposed in
http://andreswhy.blogspot.com "Solar Shields II" et al
Mainly , control will be on the ground and regional .
2.2.Power generation :
No reason to waste all that surplus heat energy . Capture the infrared beam in space and then beam it back to needed receptor sites . Neat .Use the whole Earth as a receptor dish for insolation .
Some Theory :
Tornadoes , Hurricanes and Ball Lightning .
Interesting things happen when the first , small drops spin . The latent heat energy expresses itself in directed infrared , imparting a nett spin to the droplets . Resonances may form .
Important to note that it is a major (8%) route of transformation of dimensionless latent heat energy into angular momentum . This is what gives tornadoes that kick in the pants . Hurricanes as well , to a lesser degree .
If local resonances form , the spin of a droplet may become isolated , ie incoming infrared is directed into the droplet . This is analogeous to an event horizon .
The energy in the droplet increases and forms a plasma . The Electric-field strengths at the boundary (terawatt scale) exceed material electronic field-strengths at a local point of contact . In other words , you have ball lightning , capable of penetrating a conductive metal and maintaining it's integrity .
Stabilized Ball Lightning.
Stable Terawatt electric fields make the ideal construction material .
Simple , ball-bearing size stabilized ball-lightning should be simple to make on industrial scale as a spin-off from planetary air-conditioning .
It is amusing to note that Tornado Alley in the US might become the new Silicon Valley .
Tornado wranglers ahoy!