First Understood Feb 2000, Feb 2006. The first twenty
small experimental tornadoes were made early in 2006, several dozen
more made in early 2009 and about forty more were made in early 2010.
First placed on the Internet May 2009|
- Beginning in February 2000, I first witnessed the basics of the Physics
in tornadoes, waterspouts and hurricanes by observing several thousand
vortices that form on many Spring mornings on a calm river in my backyard.
- This is an April 2006 short movie I made of an early morning Creek
in DEAD CALM air (Air temp: 34.6°F; Water temp: 46.4°F) where
THOUSANDS of tornado-like structures formed and persisted for many
seconds! Click on the still photo above to see the 34-second video.
The warm water and cooler air makes for a relatively common
slight fog which exists for a few inches above the water. The whole scene
is backlit by the early morning sun behind it, so the vortices appear as
backlit white columns of spinning water vapor. Few of the vortices are actually
straight vertical, as the tiniest gust of wind disturbs them. In this video,
I tried to follow one spinning vortex for around 34 seconds. In the fixed
frame, from about the middle of the video segment, the specific vortex
is the curved vertical line just to the right of center, but
in the video, it starts out near the left edge. The relatively horizontal
white areas are where the backlit sunlight is reflecting off the nearly
smooth calm water surface. Near the bottom of the video are reflections
of the many trees on the opposite shore, and many shadows of trees
appear as I was panning across to try to follow that vortex.
The spinning vortices are MUCH more
obvious to the eye than in these videos. You should probably
enlarge the video to full screen to best see it.
- In early 2006, I discovered the complete Physics involved in
the formation of tornadoes and waterspouts, and learned how to create small
artificial, self-forming tornadoes. Technically, waterspouts. I created
about two dozen of them over the next few months in early 2006.
I created several dozen more during 2009 and again in 2010, where close to
a hundred tiny tornadoes have been created in my basement so far.
- I saw a dark moment of humor on May 21,
2013, after the disastrous tornado that destroyed much of Moore,
Oklahoma. A 'government tornado expert' was interviewed on PBS,
and he admitted that 'we still don't know how the rotary motion
of tornadoes begins'. Clearly he should have examined my web-pages
from 2006 where I not only explained HOW and WHY they can begin
spinning, but by early 2006, I had already created a couple dozen
(small) artificial tornadoes. I saw it as darkly humorous that the
'government tornado expert' could not remotely do any of that TODAY
(seven years later)!
- My research and my experiments have been
entirely different from the common assumptions regarding how tornadoes form.
Most people believe that there must FIRST be rapidly spinning large storms
called Supercells, which then can create tornadoes. My research can neither confirm
nor deny such ideas, but the eighty-plus small artificial tornadoes
I have made have NECESSARILY all been in DEAD-CALM-AIR (in the basement
of my house or around sunrise when outdoor winds were dead calm). I have very
reliably created my small artificial tornadoes within a few seconds,
and I kept one operating very stably for roughly two hours.
- No other Researchers seem to have
carefully examined the energy source of tornadoes, except for
recognizing that warm air and water seem to be required. What I
discovered was the actual Physics of what occurs, where the ACTUAL
source of all that rotational energy comes from warm humidity which
condenses into slightly cooler air, thereby RELEASING very large amounts
of Latent Energy. The humidity needs to continuously be supplied,
so this has to occur over water or very damp ground which is significantly
WARMER than the ambient air is, such that some of that warm water
evaporates and carries accumulated energy from sunlight up into the
air as humidity. The unique detail is that the warm humidity nearly
immediately CONDENSES into water droplets to create a large supply
of (new) energy, from Latent Heat in the water, in a small area. So much
energy is created by all that condensation that a lot of rotational kinetic
energy is created, along with a smaller amount of vertical kinetic energy.
Note that NO wind energy is required or even involved, and my many
experiments even suggest that windy conditions seems to tend to
disrupt the creation of the vortex. Virtually CALM wind conditions
seem to be required for the vortex to first form, although once it
has formed, it can endure moderate wind effects.
- At the time, I thought it was a useless ability. I also had no
idea whether it could be controlled at all, and so it seemed to me to
represent the tremendous danger that natural tornadoes present.
- However, in mid-2009, I realized that it is the core of an immense
potential source of energy for mankind. A tornado or waterspout is
essentially solar energy, in a compact and extremely efficient form.
- A small artificial tornado, containing 10 horsepower or 7.5 kiloWatts
of (solar) energy, inside a farm silo structure, should be safe. The
spinning humid air could be easily ionized, such that spinning electrical charges
would be moving within the silo, and where coils of wire on the inside silo
walls could capture the alternating magnetic fields to produce electricity.
- In early 2010, I did a variety of experiments
in creating a number of 50-Watt miniature tornadoes, and slightly ionized
several of them with ultraviolet light, and I generated just under one Watt of
electricity (in very crude experiments). One of my artificial tornadoes
of March 2010 operated constantly and continuously for slightly
over two hours before I ended the experiment. It seemed clear to
me that I could have had that mini-tornado continue spinning for weeks
or possibly forever. It remained surprisingly constant in diameter,
shape, spin speed and height during that two-hour experiment,
and during the other experiments of those months. Due to safety
precautions, I restricted the energy supply to around 1/20 horsepower
in all my experiments.
- We know that natural tornadoes contain spectacular amounts of
energy and power, believed to be on the scale of 500 million horsepower,
mostly as kinetic energy of rotation.
- It has always been realized that the tornado got that energy
from solar energy, but no one ever knew how it occurred. There have
been many theories, most of which tend to defy known facts.
- I had discovered that it is all rather simple and natural!
- WARM DAMP GROUND or puddles or a warm shallow lake is REQUIRED.
A very warm area of open ocean is also fine. This actually provides
ALL the energy which is used in forming the tornado, waterspout
- It is critically important that the damp land or water be around
10°F to 12°F warmer than the air immediately above it. That air
must also have rather high humidity, which naturally occurs due to the
warm water immediately below it. The air also needs to be relatively
motionless, in a near Calm. The common assumption that there must be
circulatory motion in the air is wrong.
- The warm water now evaporates, especially in the presence
of sunlight (or, in my experiments in my basement [where absolutely
calm air could be ensured], a 50-Watt electric heating pad under a shallow
pan of water). Each pound of water that evaporates from the
puddle, lake or ocean takes nearly 1000 Btus (or 0.3 KiloWatt-hours) of
Latent Energy up away from the water, due to the Change of State from water
to water vapor. If a pound of water evaporates every two minutes,
that is around 9 kWh of power which has been extracted from the water.
By choice, the 50-Watt heat power supply I used limited my experiments
to only being able to evaporate a maximum of about three
ounces of water per hour, an interestingly small amount!
Only moderate heating of the water pond was necessary to create this
rate of evaporation.
- This water vapor now SLOWLY rises into
the slightly cooler local air.
The fact that this (saturated) water vapor is immediately in air which is
significantly cooler than it is, means that it had dropped below its
Dewpoint. This immediately causes some of the water vapor to now
condense into tiny water droplets, as fog or mist a few inches
above the surface. This has to occur when the water vapor has dropped
below its Dewpoint, where the local humidity needs to go above
100%. This is another Phase Change, back to water, which now releases that
1000 Btus of energy (per pound of water). In my mini-tornado
experiments, around half of the humidity I had just created commonly
promptly condensed into fog droplets, which therefore released around
25 Watts of Most of the rest of the energy remained as evaporated
water, or humidity.
- This large new supply of energy cannot
disappear (Conservation of Energy, which is also called the First Law
of Thermodynamics), and it cannot easily convert into any form except
Kinetic Energy. A small fraction of this new Kinetic Energy generally
goes into causing the air column to rise, which occurs relatively
slowly. (In my experiments, often only two to three Watts of power was
carried away in this way).
- The great majority of the newly created Kinetic Energy can only be
converted into (counter-clockwise) rotary motion of the vortex of air.
For a 30-foot (10-meter) tall vortex which averages one-foot (1/3-meter)
in diameter, there is around 5 pounds (2 kg) of water droplets, water vapor
and air spinning. Rotational Inertia is therefore around 0.15 kg-m2.
The energy supply of 9 kW per hour is the same as 2.5 Watts per second.
Using standard rotary energy formulas, this results in an angular velocity
of about 40 radians per second or about 400 rpm for the induced vortex
rotation. It is actually faster than this due to dynamic effects of the
continuous addition of power from below and various frictional losses
within the vortex. These numbers are just to show that a
small-solar-pond-heated vortex actually does contain a good deal
of energy and power.
- Careful Energy Audits have confirmed that this sequence of events
accounts for all the energy and the air velocities, for small
vortices like I have studied for many years. My experiments have
permitted good analysis of the dimensions, rotary velocities and
vertical rise rates of the air, water vapor and fog droplets in the
vortices, where Energy Conservation has been confirmed.
This seems to also be true for the EARLY
stages of tornadoes, waterspouts and hurricanes. (Once the larger
vortices develop, they create larger convective vertical motions of
surrounding air, which causes the air right near the surface to become even
cooler, which causes this sequence to have even more Change of State
Energy to work with, and so later growth in large scale vortices is
somewhat enhanced from the very early stages described here.
- The actual calculations for each of these processes are presented below.
- Therefore, the WARM pond, lake or ocean water first EVAPORATES from the
available water surface, and nearly immediately CONDENSES again into tiny
dew or fog droplets, which releases enormous amounts of Latent Energy. That
large release of energy, in a rather small space, overwhelms
conventional methods of using up that energy in natural rising, and the
Conservation of Energy REQUIRES that much of that energy become Kinetic
Energy of rotation. THIS is the reason that such phenomena spin,
and why they can begin spinning amazingly quickly, and
with no apparent reason.
- The same process occurs when damp soil supplies the necessary
evaporation, to create what are commonly called dust devils, but
those phenomena are generally extremely short-lived due to lack
of sufficient surface moisture to evaporate to power them.
- The temperature differential between the water surface and the air
immediately above generally establishes the STABILITY of the early
vortex. The overall temperature of the water establishes the
size, the scale of the vortex. My Research and my experiments
indicate that if the water is around 50°F,
the vortices are consistently between 0.5 and 1.0 inch in diameter
near the water surface. If the surface water temperature is around
60°F, the vortices tend to be around 3 inches in diameter near
the water. I found it harder to get stable vortices under these
conditions, mostly due to the air not being cool enough.
You can actually confirm the science I have described here. You just
need a flashlight, a standard drinking glass with an insulating sleeve around
it, and a cool and somewhat dark basement! You will need DEAD CALM AIR to
confirm these things! You might need to erect a windscreen around your
glass of warm water to see the effects if your basement has any air
drafts. You fill the glass with
WARM water, around 80°F or 85°F, to the top, and set it on
a table in the cool basement. And then turn the flashlight on BEHIND
the glass of water, shining through the air above the glass, toward you.
And then WATCH! The warm water will evaporate and that air will
rise above the glass. As soon as that air gets half an inch above the
warm water, the cooler basement air chills that air and some of the
water in it CONDENSES, due to it dropping below its DEWPOINT.
Immediately, you see a column of foggy air rising above the glass.
You also see this above a hot cup of coffee. In most rooms, there
are a lot of air drafts so the visible column of fog droplets gets
wiggled all over! But if you have done this carefully, you will see
that NO drafts are present and the narrow column rises straight up!
If you watch carefully, you will see that this visible column starts
to ROTATE (naturally) as it rises! This experiment only allows you
to SEE the rising, rotating air for about six to nine inches, when the
humid air cools enough so that no more condensation occurs and so
no more moving fog droplets are visible in your flashlight beam. But
the rising air continues to rotate.|
If the surface water temperature is about 80°F or 85°F,
and the air above it is again cool enough, this apparently can or will
result in an actual self-sustaining large tornado or hurricane, although my
experiments have not confirmed that effect of scale, due to safety
Again, once a tornado or hurricane becomes larger and stronger and
has a faster rotating vortex, there is a much faster upflow of air inside
which results in significant convective downflow of cool air from up
high to be right near the surface of the water, which tends to enhance
the self-sustaining characteristic of both tornadoes and hurricanes.
In the case of tornadoes, if either they pass over drier land or they
rise high away from their energy source, they rapidly get weaker
in strength. The same is true of hurricanes, where passage over land
denies them their energy source while also providing objects which
remove frictional energy from the circulation. Open seas, and especially,
WARM open seas are what enable hurricanes to grow.
My Research has not found any causes for the jumping that tornadoes
seem to commonly do. It might be related to the extreme amounts
of kinetic energy present, where more might have to go into
vertically rising motion of the entire vortex. But that is
- Researchers and meteorologists do NOT yet know how to predict
tornadoes, partly because they make wrong assumptions about how
they begin. My Research seems to give a wonderful new tool regarding
knowing EXACTLY where and when a tornado can and will form! (1) recent
rainfall must provide a good deal of moisture to the ground; (2) the ground
MUST be rather warm, generally from an afternoon of hot sun; and (3)
the LOCAL air temperature at ground level MUST be at least around ten
degrees (F) cooler than that water temperature. Relative humidity is also
important, but I do not yet know the specific requirements.
- A natural process which I had observed thousands of times since the Spring
of 2000, and discovered the Physics of in 2006, appears to explain
the genesis of hurricanes and tornadoes. The process involves CALM
air, WARM moist ground or water and high local humidity in COOLER
air just above the water supply where significant amounts of water
can evaporate from the warm moist ground surface rapidly, using
heat from the water, which earlier came from the Sun.
(the math is included below). The air above it needs to be
relatively stationary, calm, and significantly cooler than
the water, where that recently evaporated water quickly condenses into
tiny water droplets, fog or dew, thereby releasing the latent energy of the
phase transformation. This provides a significant energy supply
which is then within a very specific and very limited location,
which then provides the energy for the circulation of the incipient
vortex. The Coriolis Force aids in initiating the tight circulation
patterns. These tiny water droplets and the air surrounding them
retain a small amount of the heat, which causes the air in the vortex
to slowly rise. The presence of the water droplets can also make
this phenomenon visible under some lighting conditions, but dust
in the air can also make the vortex visible as well.
The amount of energy provided by the water vapor condensing can be
many times greater than the energy needed to give vertical velocity
to the air and water droplets. THIS "excess energy" is
what needs to become used (to Conserve Energy) and it becomes
the kinetic energy of the rotary motion of the vortex. The math
is impressively consistent with Conservation of Energy.
This is QUITE different from what all researchers and meteorologists
assume to be true. They believe that fast moving air is REQUIRED,
which is not the case at all!
- I now realize that a CONTROLLED artificial tornado/waterspout should be
able to be injected with some ionized gas.
- The result of that would be many charged ion particles rapidly
revolving in circular paths. That is essentially the definition
of an electric current. Such a circulating current always forms
a magnetic field.
- This vaguely resembles the Dynamo Theory by which the Earth's
Magnetic Field is believed to arise, and also the operation of virtually
all dynamos, generators and alternators.
- If coils of wire would be placed around the artificial tornado in
specific orientations, then an EMF (electrical potential) will
be induced in those coils of wire, and electric power would
- This reasoning all hinges on whether the artificial tornado/waterspout
could be controlled, which is certainly an important issue. I now
believe that if the system is kept INSIDE a metal farm-style silo,
and the POWER available in the warm water is controlled to be a few
thousand watts, this might represent a wonderful new source of electricity!
- So the working premise is that IF solar energy can be captured in a
pond of water, within a building which had DEAD CALM AIR, it MAY be possible
to create and control a STABLE small tornado/waterspout.
Say that one with one one-millionth of the power of an average natural
tornado could be created, or around 500 horsepower of mechanical rotation.
If even 10% of that power could be converted into electricity by
the method suggested above, that would be around 35,000 Watts of
electricity, enough to supply several dozen homes!
- An even smaller system of maybe 15 horsepower (10 kW) of solar
energy is provided to a farm-silo application, enough electricity
for a single home (3 kiloWatts continuously) should be realistic.
- The concept is intriguing!
- It might be able to be built in underground chambers to provide
some additional safety and control.