Eli5: can a strong heat source evaporate Storms?

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If there’s a super strong heat source that it can evaporate water in the air, can it be used to evaporate a Storm?

In: Physics

3 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Sure it’s possible; but I think you underestimate the size/power required

Just like fire needs fuel; ignition; oxygen – storms require certain atmospheric conditions to be met.  Remove any one and the the storm should disappear.

Which condition would be easiest to modify is another question……maybe try /r/askscience

Anonymous 0 Comments

Clouds are already evaporated water.

Really all this “heat source” would do is just increase the temperature of the air, allowing it to hold more water.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Imagine a storm as a massive engine powered by warm, moist air. When this warm air rises, it cools down, the moisture condenses into water droplets, and this process releases energy in the form of heat, further fueling the storm. This cycle is essential for the storm’s existence and intensity.

Now, suppose we introduce a super strong heat source into this scenario. One might think that by heating the air, we could increase evaporation and thus dissipate the storm. However, adding heat to a storm system is a bit like throwing fuel into a fire. Instead of dissipating, the added heat could potentially make the storm stronger. Heat is a driver of storm activity, and more heat could lead to faster rising air, more condensation, and potentially a more vigorous storm cycle.

Moreover, storms are massive systems, spanning hundreds or even thousands of miles across. The energy required to significantly affect a storm through external heating would be colossal, far beyond our current technological capabilities. Managing such an energy source without causing additional environmental chaos might be another Herculean task.

**But let’s do it anyway**:

Supposing we have a technology that can generate enough heat to significantly impact a storm, the immediate effect might be to rapidly warm the air within the storm. This added heat would increase the rate of evaporation of water within the storm system. While the initial thought might be that this could dissipate the storm by drying it out, the reality is that storms thrive on heat energy. Thus, injecting heat might supercharge the storm instead of quelling it, leading to enhanced storm activity.

Adding heat could intensify the storm as the warm air rises faster, creating more powerful updrafts. These could lead to more severe weather conditions, such as heavier rainfall, stronger winds, or even the creation of supercells, which could spawn tornadoes.

The massive energy required to heat a storm would have to come from somewhere, and generating this energy could have significant environmental impacts. If it’s from non-renewable sources, the carbon emissions could contribute to global warming. Alternatively, if an immense amount of renewable energy is used, it could deplete resources that might be used elsewhere in the grid, affecting energy availability.

Interfering with a storm on such a grand scale could have ripple effects on the surrounding atmospheric systems. Storms play a crucial role in regulating the Earth’s heat balance; extracting moisture and heat from the tropics and redistributing it in temperate regions. Altering a storm’s behavior might disrupt these systems, leading to unintended changes in climate patterns, potentially causing droughts or cold waves in regions dependent on the rainfall and thermal equilibria maintained by these storms.