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Wind Amplification by Stimulated Condensation of Water Vapor
(+3, -3)
  [vote for,

(pronounced "was-koov'; for proof that W can be a vowel in English, see the word "cwm" in a big-enough dictionary)

It is widely known that when it rains, the wind tends to blow. Indeed, the winds of Atlantic hurricanes, Pacific typhoons, and Indian-Ocean cyclones are all supported and enhanced by the "energy of condensation" that is released when water vapor becomes water droplets.

One aspect of the powering of winds by condensation is, why does the energy released always seem to make the wind blow harder? That is, consider some still humid air, and imagine a few molecules of water vapor clumping together to form a tiny droplet. The energy of that condensation causes some movement of air. Well, on the tiny scale, there is no reason to prefer one direction of motion for that air, over any other direction. So, if in another place some other water vapor molecules are clumping together, we ought to expect the air that gets moved to do so in a different direction than the air moved by the first group of condensing water.

This means that we should just about always encounter rain that is unaccompanied by wind, due to cancellations of all those wind-directions caused by condensations/formations of all those water droplets. Nevertheless, in actual observations of weather, we very often encounter rains that are accompanied by quite-strong winds, and that those winds can get stronger when those rains continue.

In this Idea I'm suggesting a mechanism (see subtitle) and a test-method. If you have noticed some similarity between the subtitle of this Idea and the words that "LASER" stands for (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation), it is not a coincidence. I'm talking about a quantum effect writ most macroscopically large! The notion is simply that under certain conditions the moving air caused by some initial condensation will in turn push some other water-vapor moleucules together, after which they condense and add energy to the already-moving air. As in a laser, because the energy-release is stimulated, that is why it amplifies the stimulant. In a laser, a new photon joins the first; in WASCWV I offer this before-and-after:
(moving air)-->(water vapor)(other still air molecules)
(moving air)-->(water droplet)(more moving air)-->

Well, if the preceding notion has any validity, then it can first be tested and second be USED.

(1) There are plenty of places where the air is hot and humid. Let's put a big windmill to work, blowing some of that air upward at an angle (say 45 degrees). As you know rising air cools, and causes water vapor to condense. Since this would be happening in the angularly rising air, then the WASCWV effect predicts that the airflow will be enhanced, and of course this can easily be measured.

(2) Assuming (1) works, then all we have to do now is anchor and float some dirigibles in the airflow, each equipped with many windmills to generate power. Several neat things are accomplished here. One is that we KNOW which way the wind is going to blow, so no aiming mechanisms are needed. Another is that this is a truly enormous renewable-energy source; lofting enough humid air and capturing the wind could power whole cities. A third is that the condensed water will fall as rain in a known area, where it can be collected and stored in a reservior (locating the intial blowing-windmills in the right places might put the rain directly into EXISTING reserviors!). Finally, lots and lots of less-humid air will be produced, which everyone downwind (a REDUCED wind, a cool breeze, thanks to all those power-windmills) will probably prefer to the original hot, humid, and motionless air.

Vernon, May 16 2005

cwm http://dictionary.r...ce.com/search?q=cwm
A steep bowl-shaped hollow occurring at the upper end of a mountain valley, especially one forming the head of a glacier or stream. [FarmerJohn, May 16 2005]

Ocean spray accelerates wind http://www.pnas.org...stract/102/32/11148
These folks demonstrate that droplets of spray reduce turbulence, thus speeding the wind. Conversely preventing droplets (by pouring oil on the water) can slow winds. [bungston, Aug 17 2005]

wind generation aloft http://www.worldcha...rchives/002430.html
A different take on lofting the turbines [bpilot, Aug 19 2005]


       Cwm is welsh, not English. Consequently it obeys welsh language spelling and punctuation, not English.   

       As I understand it, the energy released by water condensing warms the surrounding air, reducing its density and causing it to rise. The low pressure this creates sucks colder air in below it.
david_scothern, May 16 2005

       Heh, well, we all know that English is a mongrel language that imports from a lot of languages. So, in English spelling contests and word puzzles, "cwm" is usually allowed.   

       I admit I had somehow overlooked the role of gravity. Nevertheless, much of the Idea can still stand, because it stimulates airflow upward....
Vernon, May 16 2005

       I could be wrong but I don't think english imports any welsh.   

       Cwm is a town, are town names allowed?
po, May 16 2005

       [po] are you forgetting Sean Connery? ; P
dentworth, May 16 2005

       he's a scot,dent. they exported him to the Bahamas
po, May 16 2005

       oh, here all this time I thought he was Welsh.
dentworth, May 16 2005

       [po], a cwm is a particular type of valley. Not a capitalization-necessary thing.
Vernon, May 16 2005

       //oh, here all this time I thought he was Welsh.// "And mind you don't stir that martini boyo, isn't it?"
Basepair, May 16 2005

       o.k. V, I did hesitate in contradicting you.   

       back to the idea...
po, May 17 2005

       Actually, this is a short [Vernon] idea.   

       Ok, back to the idea...
normzone, Aug 17 2005

       Very speculative and very thought- provoking. If it worked at all, the crux of the bisquit would be whether the effect would improve reclamation enough to cover the energy expense of the lifting mechanism.   

       The other part (lifting wind turbines by LTA craft) also sounds promising; does anyone know if the idea has been explored? (See link for a related idea).
bpilot, Aug 19 2005


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