Why the Quality of Differentness Makes a Difference
The Most Important Message First
In a continuous loop, all the air in the troposphere eventually gets pulled up, funneled through the jet streams and allowed to fall back into the general flow. Laying along the boundary of the dry stratosphere above and the moist troposphere below, seven to twelve kilometers above our heads, jet streams are thermodynamic entities (previously unrecognized as such) that conserve energy and that, therefore, have ‘spare’ energy, which is itself the energy that causes storms. Jet streams possess genuine structural integrity. They are a thing. More specifically, jet streams are naturally occurring conduits. Atmospheric pressure differentials accelerate wind down/through their tubular structures. Jet streams have the ability to grow both upstream and downstream. Sometimes, growing upstream, jet streams tunnel down to the lower part of the troposphere. When they do the resulting low pressure, atmospheric uplift, and condensation is what we observe as a storm. When a vortex grows all the way to the ground we call this a tornado. In this chapter I will tell you my solution to tornadoes. Specifically, I will tell you my prescription for how we can keep vortices up in the sky causing beneficial rainstorms and prevent them from growing all the way to the ground to cause death and destruction.
When I first mapped out the chapters in this book it was not my plan to provide this solution so soon. Rather it was my intention to, chapter by chapter, step you through the detailed arguments underlying such all-encompassing notions as, 1) how a flow along a common boundary of moist air (troposphere) and dry air (stratosphere) can come to possess genuine structural integrity, resulting in jet streams; 2) how recognition of jet streams as structural elements leads to a very simple, straightforward understanding of atmospheric flow, recasting the role of H2O to achieve a more complete and accurate conceptualization of the hydrologic cycle; and 3) how you yourself can verify the controversial sounding thinking being introduced herein, cutting through the well intended but superstitious rhetoric put forth by meteorologists and government paid tornado researchers. But then I realized that if I did all of this before the end or even the middle of the book I risked losing my audience before I had a chance to convey what I think is the most important message of this book that preventing large, destructive tornadoes will turn out to be unusually simple, inexpensive, and even mundane.
Tame Weather a Risk Factor
If you lived in an area that was prone to forest fires would you not take care to clear brush, bushes, trees and other inflammables from the vicinity of your property? If you lived in bear country would you not take care to be sure edible items were not left out to draw them in? Through understanding the conditional factors that draw them in we can, I assure you, keep vortices in the sky. More specifically, through understanding the mechanism underlying how and why the tributaries of the jet streams grow down into the lower troposphere, bringing energy with them as they grow, we can find and mitigate the one, highly accessible, element in our lower troposphere that draws them in just as you might clear brush to protect your home from forest fire or clear the table after a gathering on your deck.
You don’t need to read a book to comprehend why leaving food out or failing to clear brush from around your house are risk factors for wildfires and wild animals. The same is not the case when it comes to the wild weather associated with tornadoes. Unlike that associated with forest fires and bears the magnitude of the risk factor and, therefore, the potential effectiveness of the mitigation procedures that I will be proposing for tornadoes is not obvious. You, undoubtedly, will have been made aware or even have observed this risk factor directly and you will have thought nothing of it. And your complacency is even further justified considering that this risk factor forms during atmospheric conditions that are themselves innocuous. In fact, this risk factors forms during the calmest of calm weather conditions three to ten days before tornadoes are imminent. We might even say that there is a direct correlation between the calmness of the atmosphere and the risk created by this element during these periods that precede tornado outbreaks.
It might seem that I’m saying that the cause of severe weather is calm weather. And to some degree I am saying that. More specifically, I’m saying that a qualitative factor that is instrumental to the occurrence of tornadoes only forms during calm weather conditions. This factor involves evaporation and the creation of moist air. You might anticipate that I’m referring to the creation of moist bodies of air, like those associated with moist bodies of air created over the Gulf of Mexico that are implicated with the tornadoes in tornado alley on the plains west of the Rocky Mountains. Once again, you’d be right, in a sense. But don’t jump to conclusions. The mitigation I’m proposing has nothing to do with preventing the formation of these bodies of air or eliminating them altogether, which would be impossible. The factor is not quantitative, it is qualitative. More specifically, the mitigation I’m proposing involves altering a very small part thereof, and one that is highly mitigable. But there are a few things that need to be addressed before we get to that.
No Cold Steam
Here is something I didn’t know before I started this project: the exact nature of evaporation is surprisingly controversial and the evidence that underlies the opposing sides of the controversy is surprisingly obscure. On one side of the controversy are the traditionalists, which includes all meteorologists and anybody that implicitly trusts the opinions of meteorologists. On the other side is, well, just me. The traditional notion is that evaporation is monomolecular, what I refer to as, “cold steam.” Accordingly, the traditional notion is that evaporation results in cold steam mixing in with air to produce moist air and, somehow, remaining steam (monomolecular H2O) at temperatures far below the known boiling point of H2O. In my opinion this is impossible. The moisture in moist air couldn’t possibly be monomolecular. It must consist of clusters/droplets (often, too small to be seen). Water’s boiling point is a consequence of the water molecule’s polarity and associated hydrogen bonding of water molecules with each other. In my opinion these factors should not be ignored or casually dismissed.
My experiences attempting to engage people on the internet indicate that this belief is universal, even crossing into disciplines that you would think would know better, like Chemistry and Physics. It seems that this is one of those things that everybody believes because everybody believe it. Strangely, there are many who maintain that since they believe in cold steam that, therefore, it is my responsibility to disprove it. When I’m confronted with this stubbornly dismissive attitude my response to them is that, in my opinion, the existence of cold steam and cold steam based buoyancy/convection is something that should have been tested by meteorologists a long, long time ago. It has been and continues to be their decision not to test the notion. As a scientific theorist I carry no obligation to maintain belief in something that they refuse to test. Furthermore, I have invited and even cajoled traditionalists to explain how the physical factors that underlie the boiling point of H2O (as mentioned above, these involve H2O’s polarity and hydrogen bonding) can be temporarily interrupted or turned off in cold steam. As of this writing, this invitation has been resoundingly ignored. (Also, there is a wealth of laboratory evidence that indicates/establishes the boiling point of H2O. There is zero empirical evidence confirming the existence of cold steam. All of the evidence underlying the existence of cold steam is anecdotal.)
Whatever the case, in this exposition I will be assuming that evaporation involves the creation of small droplets/clusters of H2O, not cold steam. Consequently, we are assuming that moist air is heavier and not lighter than dry air. (The thinking that underlies this assumption involves application of Avogadro’s law. Multimers of H2O [at least 10 molecules per droplet/cluster] being heavier [at least 180; 10 x 18] than is assumed by meteorologists .) Being heavier than dry air, moist air, therefore, is assumed to have negative buoyancy. This presents a conceptual challenge: if moist air is heavier and not lighter than dry air then how/why does it not just fall out of the atmosphere? My response is that moisture in our atmosphere is dictated by two processes (neither of which has anything to do with convection/buoyancy): 1) Electrostatic forces: air has a residual negative charge, water droplets have a residual positive charge, together these cause water droplets/clusters to remain suspended in air; and 2) As explained in the first paragraph of this chapter, the jet stream, in the context of creating storms, constantly pulls moist air up into its flow at the top of the troposphere 7 to 12 kilometers above us. Thunderstorms (which have nothing whatsoever to do with convection) are a particularly dramatic example of jet streams growing down into the lower troposphere to create uplift. (Also, parts of jet streams break off and become oriented vertically, this results in moist air being shot up vertically at high speeds, sometimes breaching the tropopause into the lower part of the stratosphere.)
All in all we can think of the troposphere as being in a constant juggling act with parcels of moist air except that the parcels are very light, like juggling feathers. With microdroplets of water suspended therein (by electrostatic forces) making them slightly heavier than dry air, these parcels are constantly being thrown up (or just pulled up by ensuing low pressure from above) higher in the troposphere and then slowly begin to descend. If not for the fact that they keep getting thrown up (or pulled up) again, these parcels of moist air would settle out into layers (“inversion” layers) of fog (maybe 1000 meters thick) all over the planet.
This brings us back again to the issue with which we left off, what is the seemingly innocuous tornadic risk factor that emerges in the lower troposphere during calm weather conditions? Well, during calm and relatively warm atmospheric conditions the process of evaporation begins to produce large volumes of moist air. As it does, and as long as the weather stays calm, these bodies of warm, moist air, being heavier, tend to settle out into flat layers, similar to the way the surface of a lake becomes flat and waveless in the morning after windless nights. This produces a large, discrete layers of relatively moist air sitting below a layer of relatively dry air above. This layer is sometimes referred to by meteorologists as an inversion layer. I refer to this phenomena as moist air/dry air differentness, or, more briefly, as layers of differentness. Layers of differentness generally form only about a thousand meters, one kilometer, above sea level. They can be qualitatively categorized based on objective criteria: 1) relative moisture of the moist layer to the dry layer; 2) temperature of the moist layer to the dry layer; and 3) flatness or straightness of the dry/moist boundary. Generally, for reasons that will be better explained further along, the more distinct is the moisture between the two levels (one moist the other dry) and the flatter, longer, and straighter is the layer of differentness the more high quality is the layer of differentness. And the higher is the quality of the layer of differentness the more of a risk factor it is for tornadoes.
Jet Streams Grow Upstream and, Sometimes, Down
As you probably realize, if the quality of differentness in these inversion layers determines the level of tornadic risk associated with the them then an obvious method for reducing or mitigating this risk is to reduce or destroy the quality of the differentness of the inversion layer: make it less discreet, make it lumpier, and/or segment it to shorten the lengths of any straight lines of its high quality differentness. I believe this—destroying or reducing the quality of the differentness—can be done relatively inexpensively. There are any number of methods or procedures that may be effective in this regard. As I will explain in more detail at the end of this chapter, I believe using aircraft and flying them along these layers of differentness may be the most practical means of destroying or reducing the quality of the differentness in the lower troposphere to mitigate tornadoes.
The quality of differentness (the flatness of inversion layers) is not the only risk factor for tornadoes. In fact, there are places on our planet in which the formation of high quality differentness is fairly common and yet they have no tornadoes. Tornadoes happen at times and places where the quality of differentness in the lower troposphere is unusually high and the quality of differentness in the upper troposphere, along the boundary of the troposphere and the stratosphere, is unusually low. A more detailed understanding of how and why these two conditional factor are associated with tornadoes has to do with understanding certain aspects of jet streams and how they grow: 1) Jet streams possess genuine structural integrity, a conduit-like tubular structure (details of this will be discussed more in depth shortly); 2) an implication of jet stream’s structural integrity is the ability to conserve energy, which is manifested in winds moving at high speed down/through jet stream’s conduit-like tubular structures; 3) jet streams have the ability to grow upstream (and, possibly, downstream also) and a resource they require for this growth is high quality differentness; 4) jet streams bring energy with them as they grow.
Normally there is an abundance of high quality differentness at and along the extensive boundary between the troposphere and the stratosphere, at about 7 to 12 kilometers above us. Sometimes, however, there is a shortage of the moisture needed to maintain the high quality differentness along this boundary. Jet streams always grow into the path of highest quality differentness, regardless of where it leads. Storms happen when the path of highest quality differentness leads down into the middle altitudes of the troposphere and a jet stream or segment thereof grows down into that path. Often a down trending jet stream will break off from the main jet stream. The energy it brings with it causes the updrafts and resulting precipitation that are observed as thunderstorms or regular rain storms. If the down trending differentness that a jet stream (or segment thereof) encounters is high quality then the growth will be rapid and the amount of energy (wind) that moves to the lower elevations will also be large. If the elevation of this growth is low enough and the amount of energy that is delivered is large enough the result will be a violent tornado. A violent tornado, therefore, is literally a piece of jet stream that has grown from (or broken off from) a jet stream above, bringing energy with it as it grows; it is an extension of a jet stream (or it’s a child that has broken off from a parent jet stream).
Jet Streams Can Create Their Own Path
To what was stated above we can now make an addendum. Tornadoes happen at places where the quality of differentness at the top of the troposphere is unusually low and the quality of differentness at the bottom of the troposphere, the inversion layer, is unusually high AND when there is a pathway of high quality differentness from the top of the troposphere to the bottom of the troposphere. But if a pathway does not exist that does not mean that tornadoes will not occur. Because a jet stream can create its own pathway of high quality differentness: as the quality of the differentness at the top of the troposphere gets low the growth of a jet stream will begin to follow the path of higher quality differentness to lower elevations in the troposphere. This will result in low pressure, high energy winds (these winds are, sometimes, referred to by meteorologists as, “winds aloft”) that, essentially, begin to pull the inversion layer of high quality differentness at the bottom of the troposphere up into its flow. It, essentially, sucks it up and, thereby, creates a pathway of high quality differentness. In other words, the high quality differentness of an inversion layer at the bottom of the troposphere starts to become more of an imminent risk of a large, violent tornado as the jet stream, encountering low quality differentness in the upper regions of the troposphere, begins creating high energy winds aloft that track down lower and lower and begin to pull the high quality differentness of the inversion layer up into the flow of the jet stream. (What will be observed from the ground is thunderclouds, wall clouds, and related phenomena.)
Geography of Tornadoes
From more of a meteorological perspective, storms are the mechanism that rehydrates the upper troposphere. (As discussed previously, there is no such thing as moist air convection. Moist air has negative buoyancy.) Storms are the reason moisture gets above 1,000 meters (inversion layers) up to 7,000 to 12,000 meters at the top of the troposphere. However, storms don’t happen for the specific purpose of rehydrating the upper troposphere. In other words, the jet stream doesn’t have the ability to sense that the moisture in the upper troposphere is low and the moisture in the lower troposphere is high and then act on this information. A jet stream just naturally grows into the path of highest quality differentness which trends downward when moisture is low at the top of the troposphere. Often this will involve sections of a jet stream literally breaking off and, being vertically oriented, tracking down along the path of highest quality differentness and jetting moist air up toward the top of the troposphere (as mentioned previously, sometimes this even results in moist air punching through the tropopause pushing [moist air] clouds into the lower part of the stratosphere). It also results in the creation of widespread low pressure that will generally pull moist air from ground level up higher in the troposphere, creating visible clouds.
This understanding (that tornadoes happen at places where and when the quality of differentness at the top of the troposphere is low and that at the bottom of the troposphere, the inversion layer, is high) provides us some insight on the geography of tornadoes. Tornadoes always happen on the leeward side of mountains due to the fact that as the eastward flow of air is forced to gain altitude as it travels over mountains adiabatic factors (water condenses and falls out of the sky [rain] at the lower pressure and lower temperature of higher altitudes) depletes these locations of the moisture needed to maintain the quality of differentness. Tornadoes happen in the vicinity of warm bodies of water since these provide an abundance of warm, moist air to form inversion layers. And tornadoes happen in the Spring and Fall because these are the times when there are generally periods of atmospheric calmness that will allow these inversion layers in the lower troposphere to form into flat layers of high quality differentness, and also because the atmosphere is still cold enough to cause the adiabatic processes, as mentioned above, to produce low quality differentness on the leeward side of mountains at the top of the troposphere.
Existence of Streams Prove Structure
If you have read this straight through up to this point I want to thank you for your patience. I have foisted upon you a notion and you have been patient enough to keep reading and trust that I would eventually get around to explaining it. And that notion is structure in the atmosphere. It is a difficult subject that I would like nothing better than to just skip over it. But, of course, I can’t. As I stated above, 1) jet streams possess genuine structural integrity, a conduit-like tubular structure; 2) an implication of jet stream’s structural integrity is the ability to conserve energy, which is manifested in winds moving at high speed down/through jet stream’s conduit-like tubular structures; 3) jet streams have the ability to grow upstream (and, possibly, downstream also) and a resource they require for this growth is high quality differentness; 4) jet streams bring energy with them as they grow. From this point on in this chapter my main goal will be to fill in the details underlying atmospheric structure and why high quality differentness is so essential to its existence.
A gas, by definition, is incapable of structure. A gas, by definition, does not have a surface. It does not have resilience to external perturbation, by definition. So, if the atmosphere were only comprised of gases and other entities/substances that were themselves incapable of achieving large scale structure, like liquid water and snowflakes, then any observation that was consistent with and/or could only be explained by the existence of large scale structure—such as the fast, directed winds we attribute to the jet streams—would indicate/prove that there must be something other than just gases (and structurally ineffectual liquid water, and snowflakes) operational in Earth’s atmosphere. Is that confusing enough for you? Let me see if I can simplify that a bit. Specifically, it can be argued that if the atmosphere is only comprised of gases (and structurally ineffectual liquid water and snowflakes) then the high winds that we associate with the jet streams couldn’t possibly exist because there would be no mechanism by which to isolate a stream from the friction of gases. For example, suppose you tried to blow a candle out from across a room. You would find that no matter how much energy you expended or how carefully you aimed you couldn’t blow the candle out. The friction of gases would cause the energy to diffuse and you would not be able to blow out the candle. If, however, you were to set up a tube or a hose pointing directly at the flame and only a few inches away you could then, with minimal effort, blow out the candle from across the room. The difference is that the walls of the tube will have both isolated your breath from the friction of gases and reflected the energy of your breath back into the flow down the length of the tube. Therefore, the observation that high energy, directed winds (of jet streams) exist in Earth’s atmosphere suggests that tubular structures (vortices, to draw a distinction between the [here theorized] structural part of a jet stream and the air moving down/through it) with resilient, smooth inner walls must exist in our atmosphere because if they did not then the high energy, directed winds attributable to jet streams would not and could not escape the friction of gases and, therefore, would not and could not exist. Whew!
Suspended State of Activation
This creates a quandary or mystery. Why is it—atmospheric structure—not plainly observable? Is it invisible? Is it subtle? Is it temporary? My answer is, yes, yes, and yes. It is invisible because the primary component of its composition is H2O, which is usually clear. And it is temporary and subtle because it only comes into existence under conditions of high energy wind shear. Also, its existence is usually obstructed by clouds. Additionally, there are many, myself included, that contend that atmospheric structure is plainly observable as the cone or vortex of a tornado; simply put, there appears to be something structural and molecularly distinct about the observed cone and behavior of a tornado vortex.
And then there is the biggest question of all, what is it? My answer is that it is a plasma. If you go out looking for research on a plasma phase of water you won’t find much of anything. Moreover, if you do research on the concept of a plasma in general you will find that it is usually defined as consisting of high energy particles called ions, some positive and some negative, that have a source of incoming energy. The incoming energy drives the particles apart, separating (creating) the positive ions from the negative ions and sends them flying. However, the ions don’t fly off independently as do the particles in a gas because the net effect of the positive and negative charges of these particles is to effectuate an internal force that is greater than the force pushing them apart. They remain in a suspended state of activation, not a solid, not a liquid, not a gas, a plasma. I wondered, is it possible that wind shear at boundaries of large bodies of air is the corollary of incoming energy of a plasma. And, if so, is there some way in which H2O molecules can be activated such that they achieved a suspended state of activation in which the forces pulling each molecule back into the mix was greater than the forces pushing them out?
Non-Newtonian Aspects of Water
Unlike either a gas or a liquid, plasma shares one attribute with solids, internal cohesiveness. In other words, like a solid, plasma has resistance to external perturbation (resilience—though usually much weaker [ephemeral] than that of most solids). It has a surface and, therefore, the ability to reflect energy back into a stream flow. Also, its resilience provides it the ability to take a form and maintain that form without having to be contained. In short, plasma has structural integrity. Additionally, with wind shear as the source of its incoming energy, it seemed I could envision it taking whatever shape wind shear is capable of taking including a tubular shape, which (as mentioned above) is essential to a streamflow being isolated from the friction of gases. Additionally, plasma can be as light as air. So, being a phase of matter that provides structural integrity and being light enough that it won’t fall out of the sky, plasma makes sense as an explanation for atmospheric structure. But is there any such thing as an undiscovered plasma phase of water? I knew enough about water to know that I didn’t know enough and otherwise had a hunch that if there was some kind of plasma phase of water that I would most likely find it by doing research on the polarity, hydrogen bonding, and non-Newtonian aspects of water. What I found was fascinating in and of itself.
On a molecular level water is very aggressive about getting together with other water molecules to become decidedly unaggressive. We mostly notice the result of the water molecule’s aggression, its complete lack of aggression, and we are, therefore, mostly unaware of how incredibly aggressive it, the H2O molecule, can be to become unaggressive. More specifically, the H2O molecule’s aggression is a result of its inherent polarity and the electromagnet implications thereof: as water, on the molecular level, aggressively seeks out connections with other water molecules, the strength and persistence of these forces cause it to collectively become (in the form of liquid water) more interconnected molecularly, more entangled, denser. And that’s where things get strange. Because the more entangled and denser it (water) becomes (the more bonds are achieved between molecules of H2O) the more the forces that caused it to become entangled are neutralized, turned off, resulting in the high fluidity (low viscosity) of water. In a sense, H2O molecules are in a great big hurry to surround themselves with other H2O molecules (by way of hydrogen bond connections at all four locations of their tetrahedral structure, each with a different H2O molecule) so that they can treat each other with (almost) complete indifference.
Discovery of the Spin
The mechanism that underlies this strange passive-aggressive behavior of the water molecule—this individual tendency to aggressively seek to become collectively unaggressive—can be better understood with respect to the fact that the bond that takes place between water molecules is a hydrogen bond. Unlike covalent bonds, water’s hydrogen bond is the result of (a function of) the polarity of the two H2O molecules that are participants in the bond. However—and in complete contrast to a covalent bond—when a hydrogen bond is achieved a fraction of the polarity is neutralized, turned off, in both of the two H2O molecules that participate in the hydrogen bond. So, ironically, the achievement of a hydrogen bond (and each H2O molecule can participate in up to four bonds, each with a different H2O molecule) is at one and the same time the result of the water molecule’s polarity and the (partial) neutralization thereof.
This tendency to become entangled, to aggressively fold in on itself, and to, thereby, neutralize its polarity as it becomes entangled is so effective and so instantaneous (and happening on such a such a microscopic scale) that we are mostly unaware of the H2O molecule’s underlying ability to produce some fairly significant electromagnetic forces (surface tension) and bond strength (tensile strength). (Note: liquid water’s hydrogen bond offer’s no compressive strength whatsoever.) All in all, what it really comes down to is this: H2O molecules are so effective at getting together with other H2O molecules and neutralizing the polarity that brought them together, we (us humans) generally are unaware of the possibility that if a mechanism can be theorized (or experimentally revealed) that will defeat the H2O molecule’s aggressive and insidious tendency to collectively fold in on itself and, thereby, neutralize its polarity, then its structural capabilities can emerge. (As mentioned above, there are two structural capabilities: [a.] bond strength [tensile strength only] and [b.] surface tension.)
My attempts to envision how liquid water could be agitated to thereby release it’s underlying surface tension were very frustrating. At first the only thing I could envision was direct agitation: vibration and heat. I could find nothing sustainable about either, the only exception being when water is heated above its boiling point to produce steam. Obviously there is nothing about wind shear that would allow for the high temperature needed to produce steam and even if it did the result is a gas and, therefore, it would lack the resilience, surface and structural capabilities that I had envisioned as a plasma. I decided to take a step back and try to conceptualize what was happening at the wind shear boundary. I drew a simple diagram depicting two bodies of air moving in opposite directions. At the boundary it depicted air molecules colliding in a side-long trajectory along a plane. In keeping with the concept of differentness, one of the bodies of air was dry, it contained only N2 and O2 molecules. The other also contained clusters/droplets of H2O. And that is when I found the answer. I realized that as the H2O droplets/clusters were continually bombarded by side-glancing impacts they would start to spin. As they spun faster and faster they would, eventually, begin to elongate into chains. As they elongated hydrogen bonds would be broken, activating the polarity of the molecules in the chain—activating them electromagnetically. Specifically, the H2O molecules would go from having four and three bonds with the other H2O molecules in their droplet/cluster to having two and one in the elongated chain/cluster. (Two for each molecule in the midsection [non-ends] of each chain and one for each molecule at the ends of each chain.)
It seemed that I now had a mechanism to describe the origins of the surface tension that I envisioned. The centrifugal force of spinning defeated the H2O molecule’s aggressive and insidious tendency to fold in on itself. And since folding in on itself is what neutralizes H2O’s polarity (and polarity is what underlies the H2O molecules tensile strength and surface tension) the spinning, essentially, activated its polarity, activating H2O’s hidden tensile strength and surface tensions. Also it was immediately apparent that this is a different situation than is the case with heat as the source of agitation and the resulting steam. Now I had a way to express the H2O molecule’s surface tensions that didn’t involve the individual molecules flying off independently because the force that prevented them from flying off (the hydrogen bonds shared between each H2O molecule in the chain) is greater than the force that is pulling them apart (the centrifugal force of the spinning). Most significantly, as with the more standard notion of a plasma, this H2O plasma seemed to be capable of achieving a suspended state of activation. I could even envision the unbonded aspects of each H2O molecule (the oxygen side of each water molecule being negatively charged and the hydrogen side being positively charged) as being corollaries to the positive and negative ions of a standard plasma. This seemed to explain how/why chains that had broken (especially after colliding with other chains) would be pulled back into the mix rather than just being flung off.
Of course this notion brought to mind all kinds of questions that don’t have obvious or easy answers. Could something like this be stable? Sustainable? Chains of molecules (10 to 60 molecules in length) spinning end over end conserves momentum as a consequence of the spinning. Might this be what allows this plasma (or plasma-like) phase of H2O the constancy and persistence that is necessary for any state of matter, especially one that we would want to describe as having structural integrity? Additionally, the gyroscopic effect of these spinning chains of H2O in concert with the law of conservation of angular momentum seemed to offer an explanation for how/why a substance (H2O) that has zero compressive strength (resistance to external perturbation—resilience) when in the liquid state can manifest compressive strength in the plasma state. And, of course, having compressive strength I now had a theoretical explanation for how tubes comprised of this plasma would possess the structural resilience to reflect energy back into a stream flow, and be capable of delivering energy over long distances as well.
Importance of Maintaining Side-Glancing Impacts
I also noticed other aspects of this thinking that seemed complimentary. Water droplets/clusters are remarkably well suited to absorbing kinetic energy from molecular impact. This is an implication of them being, as described above, very aggressive about getting together with other water molecules to become decidedly unaggressive. They are like bowling pins or pool balls that set themselves up again the instant after they are struck, re-establishing close proximity with one another, seemingly preparing for the next impact. Any net spin would be conserved, increasing the velocity of their spin, like an ice skater pulling in her arms. Moreover, as the molecules in the cluster began to absorb more and more energy from side glancing impacts, spinning faster and faster, it seemed the cluster would naturally unravel into a chain. And the hydrogen bonds that held the chain together would literally get stronger as the chain unraveled: as side bonds are broken each water molecule in a chain goes from having four or three bonds to two and (at the ends of each chain) one, reactivating the polarity that underlies their tensional strength (bond strength) and surface tension. All in all, water droplets are nature’s perfect spinners. When they are compact they are weakest (liquid) and, therefore, good absorbers of energy from collisions with other molecules. And as they spin and unravel (plasma) they get stronger. Just think if it was the other way around (as is the case for most substances). If these droplets/clusters were strong when compact they wouldn’t absorb energy they would reflect it. Secondly, if they got weaker as they got more elongated they would tend to be fragile and break apart rather than continue to absorb energy from side glancing impacts (and simultaneously reflect energy [from more direct impacts] back into a stream flow).
Quality of Differentness Matters
The understanding that developed also solved another question: why did it matter that one body of air was moist and the other was dry? Or, more specifically, why were tornadoes associated with dry/moist wind shear and not also wind shear that involved dry/dry or moist/moist wind shear? Obviously, with dry/dry there would be no clusters/droplets of H2O and, therefore, no H2O plasma. With moist/moist, however, the answer is less obvious: the droplets would collide with each other, stick to each other, and, since they would be spinning in opposite directions, cancel each other’s spin. And so, only when one body of air was moist and the other dry would the spinning of clusters/droplets produce the plasma that underlies atmospheric structure.
Along the same lines, this understanding helps us understand why the quality of differentness makes a big difference. It all comes down to what will cause/maintain spin and that is mostly determined by what factors will cause/maintain side glancing impacts on the water droplets/clusters. Interruptions in the flatness, straightness, and linear continuity of the layer of differentness makes side glancing impacts less likely. Additionally, lack of straightness and flatness of the layer of differentness makes it more likely that the droplets/clusters will infiltrate the dry layer, begin to flow in the opposite direction, begin to spin in the opposite direction, and collide with other droplets and cancel each other’s spin, as explained in the paragraph above. Only if the differentness is very distinct and straight for long distances will it facilitate rapid (and energetically high magnitude) vortex growth. That’s not to say that there isn’t some leeway in all of this; to some degree a vortex does have the ability to create it’s own high quality differentness (also, there are hydrophobic aspects of H2O plasma that may play a role facilitating moist air traveling down the length of a plasma tube) but it is energetically expensive and it takes longer to achieve the spin that underlies the structural growth. Again, only if it encounters high quality differentness can vortex growth maintain the side glancing impacts that underlie it achieving rapid, uninterrupted and high energy growth.
Lastly, there is the spin or “twist” of the vortex itself. In the same sense that a rifle barrel will cause a bullet to fly straighter by imparting a twist on the bullet, the rotation of a vortex around a central axis will cause it to grow straighter. Consequently we would not expect vortex growth to be good at making turns. Accordingly, as with the factors above, the twist of a vortex would, it seems, necessitate straighter (higher quality) differentness in order to facilitate rapid (and energetically high magnitude) vortex growth. All in all, we can think of inversion layers that form in the lower troposphere as sheets of fabric that can/will subsequently be rolled up to form a tube or vortex. If these sheets are high quality (long, straight, smooth [distinctly dry/moist]) then the tubes that form from them will themselves be high quality and will, thereby, be very proficient as conduits of energy, producing large destructive tornadoes. If, however, these sheets are low quality (short, crooked, ragged [having holes], bumpy, and/or fuzzy [not distinctly dry/moist]) then the tubes that form from them will themselves be low quality and will, thereby, be ineffective as conduits of energy, producing relatively benign, low energy storms and tornadoes (and more of them).
Differentness is Fragile
With respect to the greater question as to what we can do to prevent large, destructive tornadoes there are reasons for optimism with this new understanding of tornadogenesis. In addition to being relatively easy to locate and easy to get to, the layers of differentness that develop (during periods of calm weather) in the lower troposphere are extremely fragile. The slightest perturbation destroys them. The downwash coming off the wings of an airplane, for example, is more than enough to destroy any differentness in its immediate vicinity. Moreover, the whole-scale destruction of these boundary layers of differentness may not be necessary to effectively mitigate tornadoes; in order to achieve rapid growth plasma vortices are dependent on finding a pathway of differentness that is long in addition to being distinct and smooth. By flying patterns with aircraft along these layers of differentness and allowing the downwash off the wings to divide these sleeping giants of differentness into segments, like cutting fabric, we may be able to interrupt the straight-line continuity of the differentness in these inversion layers. Theoretically, this will prevent the kind of runaway vortex plasma growth associated with large, high energy, storms and tornadoes.
Too Easy to be True
Does this all seem too simple? Can it really be this easy? Can the annual threat of large, destructive tornadoes actually be brought to an end with something so simple as deploying aircraft to fly directed patterns at designated altitudes during periods of high risk? It’s hard to imagine any reasonable person not being skeptical of such a claim. I myself am skeptical on this point. But considering that the cost of one large, destructive EF5 or EF4 tornado can easily surpass a billion dollars, even if the annual cost of the aircraft, fuel and personnel of this suggested mitigation method are in the 10 million dollar range then it is money well spent. My guess as to what it might actually cost probably isn’t much better than anybody elses. But it is conceivable, in my opinion, that these cost might even be less than a million annually.
Of course, this is all dependent on whether or not the scientific thinking herein is valid. As you would expect from anybody that is putting forth a book on a theory that they themselves had developed, I myself have a lot of confidence that it is valid. I wish I could say that I had a lot of confidence in the opinion of others on this subject. Unfortunately, my experience so far is that everybody else employed in severe weather research is, it seems, so ensconced in the paranoia, superstition and politics of pretending not to notice that their own theory doesn’t make sense that they don’t have the time or the will to consider new theoretical thinking. The chapters that follow are intended to help the average reader cut through the rhetoric to verify the claim being made herein that mitigating large, violent tornadoes will prove to be extremely easy, inexpensive and even mundane.
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