Weather Control?

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Cooley
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Weather Control?

Postby Cooley » Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:44 am UTC

Is control of the weather possible? And how would it be accomplished, like the mechanism?

Matterwave1
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Re: Weather Control?

Postby Matterwave1 » Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:52 am UTC

To a degree it is possible. For example, you can try to disperse storm clouds to try to stop rain, or you can drop chemicals that make the raindrops harder or easier to cling to each other to try to stop or promote rain, respectively. As far as making the weather exactly as you like (stopping tornado and hurricanes, etc), it's still impossible with our current technology. Will it be possible with future technology? Maybe.

As a side note, for the opening ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, China shot 1000+ rockets into storm clouds to try to disperse them to keep it from raining on the opening ceremony. I am not familiar with any publication of any studies as to the effectiveness of this method, but, it didn't rain on the opening ceremony. :P

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Re: Weather Control?

Postby Mr_Rose » Wed Sep 03, 2008 8:29 am UTC

Cooley wrote:Is control of the weather possible? And how would it be accomplished, like the mechanism?

Conceptually, weather control is easy - the primary inputs are heat and the Earth's rotation and we can generate heat almost at will. The problem lies in calculating the effects of adding or removing specific amounts of either on the overall pattern as well as on the specific pattern you are trying to influence. Specifically, the weather is a truly global system and it is the granddaddy of all chaotic systems on Earth - you couldn't control it without much, much better analysis of existing patterns and a global system of control stations. Also a stupid amount of power.
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Zamfir
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Re: Weather Control?

Postby Zamfir » Wed Sep 03, 2008 9:36 am UTC

Build a house.

That's not entirely a joke. It shows that if you have enough power and materials comapred to the amount of air, you can control the weather good enough without worrying about chaos.

On the other hand, we already spend something like 15 or 20% of the economy on construction, and a similar part of our energy on heating and cooling. And that's just to control the weather on the extremely small part of the atmosphere we consider 'inside'. Now imagine the effort it would take to control the weather everywhere.

To put it another way: if all power in the world was produced with windmills ( and thus sapped away from the atmosphere), it would have absolutely no measurable effect on the weather at large.

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rho
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Re: Weather Control?

Postby rho » Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:04 am UTC

Mr_Rose wrote:
Cooley wrote:Is control of the weather possible? And how would it be accomplished, like the mechanism?

Conceptually, weather control is easy - the primary inputs are heat and the Earth's rotation and we can generate heat almost at will. The problem lies in calculating the effects of adding or removing specific amounts of either on the overall pattern as well as on the specific pattern you are trying to influence. Specifically, the weather is a truly global system and it is the granddaddy of all chaotic systems on Earth - you couldn't control it without much, much better analysis of existing patterns and a global system of control stations. Also a stupid amount of power.

I remember reading a conspiracy theory where the government control the weather (or at least deflect storms) by targeting lasers on a small part of the atmosphere to produce localised heat bubbles that provide a 'kick' just where it is needed - butterfly effect 'n' all.
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Re: Weather Control?

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:23 am UTC

Well, the point of the "butterfly effect" is that it's largely unpredictable. I don't think tiny superheated bubbles of air would be all that precise at changing the weather. Good weather control requires a high level cleric.
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Re: Weather Control?

Postby Swordfish » Sat Sep 06, 2008 7:03 am UTC

Matterwave1 wrote:As a side note, for the opening ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, China shot 1000+ rockets into storm clouds to try to disperse them to keep it from raining on the opening ceremony. I am not familiar with any publication of any studies as to the effectiveness of this method, but, it didn't rain on the opening ceremony. :P


Cloud seeding. The rockets were carrying silver iodide which acts to freeze supercooled water droplets. Water vapor condenses/deposits on ice crystals faster than it does on water droplets, so the the crystals grow faster and fall from the cloud sooner. China was making the clouds rain before they reached Beijing, keeping it dry. Russia does it sometimes as well, I went to a Paul McCartney concert a few years ago and he said that when he performed in Moscow, Russia did some cloud seeding so it wouldn't rain on the concert.

Cloud seeding is actually more common than you may think. China does it quite regularly, and I believe that for some time it was actually adding to the pollution problem in Beijing because they were making it rain before any of the clouds capable of spawning rain reached the city. The United States makes use of it too, mostly to improve weather conditions near airports and to decrease the size of hailstones.
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