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Breaking the temperature inversion cap to let sunshine reach the inhabitants below

Image credit: John Gibbons / unsplash

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Aug 11, 2020
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Necessity

Is the problem still unsolved?

Conciseness

Is it concisely described?

The goal is to come up with a way to consistently cut through a temperature-inversion-caused fog cap so that more sunlight reaches the ground.

Some geographically unlucky towns are positioned in temperature inversion prone areas. Normally, air temperature decreases with an increase in altitude. During an inversion, warmer air is held above cooler air - which means the normal temperature profile with altitude is inverted. In the colder months, a thick layer of fog forms a cap over inversion-prone valleys. The sunlight cannot penetrate the fog cap for days or weeks at a time. This video shows a few valleys snuffed out by the inversion cap.

People living in such towns don't see the sky or know the difference between a sunny or cloudy day. Some of the more notable effects are:
  • depression in people
  • higher energy consumption for heating/lighting
  • high air pollution because the combustion-related toxins circulate below the inversion cap

What kind of technology could such a town build to consistently dissipate the fog layer?


8
Creative contributions

Fog-collecting

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Juran Oct 05, 2020
As you mentioned in the other session, fog can be collected and turned into the water for irrigation or drinking if purified. It was stated that almost 10% of the fog can be collected using the fog-nets. If combined with mirrors or uphill tunnels, it can serve as a natural source of water and help to increase the hours of sun.

[1]https://news.mit.edu/2013/how-to-get-fresh-water-out-of-thin-air-0830

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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
I was thinking about this today as well:) The thing is, the town where I live is enclosed by hills, full of trees. The several hundred meters of the fog-cap layer is in direct contact with the trees - pine trees included in abundance. They don't seem to have any effect on the fog. This makes me think that neither would the nets. Winter is coming. I'll be looking at the fog for weeks and pondering about this again:)
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J
Jurana year ago
Since my grandma is Slovenian, I'll visit you next time I go there, and then we can do some fog-watching and brainstorming :D
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
Looking forward to it:)
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High-powered laser beams to disperse fog, generate energy, and optically transfer data

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Brett M.
Brett M. Dec 28, 2020
It has been suggested that high-powered lasers can be used to modulate weather patterns , such as in the context of enhancing the efficacy of optical data transfer . However, the powerful nature of the pulsating laser-induced dispersion of fog causes a sonic boom at the molecular level and can appear incredibly bright , which may be damaging to the eyes. Nevertheless, this pulsating fog-dispersion technology has been tested under laboratory conditions and has incredible implications for areas where fog cover is excessive.

Once the applicability of these pulsatile lasers can be approved for use in communal societies on Earth, such as where fog cover is excessive, the utility of these lasers may provide a number of benefits, and may do so in an eco-friendly manner. For example, by establishing a geosynchronous orbit between satellites and precise locations on Earth where fog density is above a certain threshold (such as those indicated in the current session), lasers could be beamed to the Earth at this specific location to create patches in the fog cover, allowing sunlight to enter through and reach the ground below. In doing so, the laser beam not only provides a method to disperse fog and increase sunlight to fog-covered regions but can also provide a method to deliver wireless transmission to these areas for use by internet service providers.

Finally, there is recent evidence that these lasers can be powered via solar energy , which begins to describe the sustainable nature of this technology. This said, these lasers could be powered by solar panels fixed onto a geosynchronous satellite that transmits the laser to the ground. Inter-satellite lasers could then be implemented between multiple geosynchronous satellites to provide additional energy when these satellites are temporarily void of sunlight (from the natural rotation of the Earth). This can be achieved through the use of photovoltaic cells to capture and transduce laser energy into electricity .

Perhaps, the energy-capturing technology of a photovoltaic cell can be engineered to inherit the technology required for data transfer, and the laser beams could disperse fog (and increase sunlight), optically deliver data to geographic locations on Earth, and generate local patches of sustainable energy to be used by societies (maybe through a laser-focused solar farm).

[1]https://aip.scitation.org/doi/pdf/10.1063/1.4972954?casa_token=hpgbeDVErNQAAAAA:XRaMGlWRHnhF4wQU-O3TXGVOohNxdq1fanRxDnUf8L7ieOD0GHc0t1VDuu77mwsQVcRcdI5rBMc

[2]Wolf JP. Short-pulse lasers for weather control. Rep Prog Phys. 2018 Feb;81(2):026001. doi: 10.1088/1361-6633/aa8488. PMID: 28783040.

[3]https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/a32669350/cloud-tunnels-fog-clearing-weather-control/

[4]https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/a34094866/best-solar-powered-laser/

[5]https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/19920006800

[6]https://blog.innovation4e.de/en/2016/09/12/power-by-light/#comments

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic10 months ago
This sounds like a pretty cool, longer term solution. Satellites might be out of reach for many countries at the moment, but when we become a Type I civilization on the Kardashev scale (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kardashev_scale) I can see this sort of tech being used.
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Uphill tunnels used as chimneys

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Aug 11, 2020
Uphill tunnels could be dug in a nearby hill which forms the "wall" of the valley that holds the fog in place. The tunnels would start at the foot of the hill (below the layer of fog) and come out on top (above the layer of fog) - forming a bridge between cold air below and warm air above. Solar-powered fans within the tunnels could then direct the airflow in either direction to either create overpressure or underpressure in the town. This would eventually cause a hole to appear in the fog layer. The sunlight would then gradually heat the ground below and help reverse the temperature - thus dissipating the fog. Air could even be moved through the tunnels without any moving parts. Instead of fans, the bottom part of the tunnel could be layered with heating elements, which would be powered by photovoltaic panels placed on top of the hill. Warm air naturally moves up the chimney (tunnel) - creating an updraft.
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Mirrors to focus sunlight and punch a hole through the fog layer

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Aug 11, 2020
Similar to how heliostats (solar power plants) work, an array of mirrors could be positioned on a nearby hill, above the fog layer. The mirrors would focus the sunlight at a specific spot and "burn" a hole through the fog. Then keep on repeating it at different strategic points until enough warmth gets through to heat up the air below the layer of fog. Additionally, a huge field of rocks on the ground could be used as a radiator. The array of solar mirrors would focus the sunlight on it. Convection heating would then punch a hole through the fog layer above the field.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
something like this https://phys.org/news/2013-10-norwegian-village-giant-mirrors-capture.html
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Artificial fog elimination

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Deru Xu
Deru Xu Dec 08, 2020
We call this method an artificial dispersion catalyst. The method of artificially disturbing air mixing or heating in the fog area to disperse the fog is called artificial defogging.

Artificial defogging is divided into warm fog artificial defogging (the temperature in the fog area is higher than 0°C) and artificial fog defogging (the temperature in the fog area is higher than 0°C, and the droplets are too cold). Water droplets etc.).

There are currently several test methods to eliminate warm fog:

Heating method: For a small range of mist, heat the air to evaporate and eliminate the mist.

Hygroscopic method: Sowing salt, urea and other hygroscopic particles as a catalyst to produce a large number of condensation nuclei. Water vapor condenses on the condensation core and grows into large water droplets. The droplets will evaporate and condense on the large droplets, making the fog disappear.

Man-made interference mixing method: Use a helicopter to stir the air above the top of the fog, push the dry air above the top of the fog downwards, and mix with the air in the fog, the fog will disappear.

The method of artificially eliminating cold fog is to use aircraft or ground equipment to spray dry ice, liquefied propane and other catalysts into the fog to produce a large number of ice crystals. Through the ice-water conversion process, they capture the moisture of the original fog droplets, the fog droplets evaporate and the ice crystals continue to grow and fall to the ground. When they grew up and landed on the ground, the fog disappeared.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
Great suggestions. It gave me some additional ideas which I will talk about after a bit of research.

We have to be careful about the choice of materials (salt, gasses) so as not to negatively impact the environment. For example, salt could contaminate the soil, gasses could add to the greenhouse problem.
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Fog condensing fans

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Dec 10, 2020
I found this device concept. I don't fully understand how it works but the video description reads: "fog dispersion technology based on a hybrid-type anion generating device using both corona discharge plasma and strong magnetic force, in which particles in the atmosphere are ionized and ions draw and condense fog particles while acting as condensation nuclei, thereby allowing fog to fall in the form of raindrops."

Here is another video from the same people showing these devices in action. From what I understand it sucks the humid air and condenses the microdroplets into bigger ones, thus rapidly separating the water from the air.


If it works as described, such fans could be mounted on trucks or permanently positioned at the area's usual inversion cap elevation.

If these devices can be made smaller they could be mounted on drones and connected into large swarms. The drones would fly in formation and turn the inversion cap (fog) into the rain and by so doing dissipate the cap.
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Electrostatic precipitator

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Dec 10, 2020
This video explains how an electrostatic precipitator works . And here is an experiment in action.

Then this video shows a DIY unit tested on the fog. It seems to be quite effective in condensing/removing the water vapor from the air.

Large industrial-sized electrostatic precipitators could be mounted on trucks and moved or permanently positioned at a hillside area that is in contact with the inversion cap.

If the resulting hole in the inversion cap remains localized only to the immediate area surrounding the electrostatic precipitator we would need to come up with ways to poke holes in other areas. Could such a machine be hung from a helicopter or erected on mobile cranes?

[1]Electrostatic Precipitator: An Electric Air Filter. Sanghyeon Park December 7, 2017 - http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2017/ph240/park2/

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Juran10 months ago
Hi Darko! Nice simulation of fog removal on the attached DIY video. I guess it could work. The only thing that could be changed in the construction of the precipitator itself is the inner design which collects the water. It could be made in a way that it collects and immediately forwards and stores the water in large containers. After all, if it's pure enough, it can be used for drinking (Cloud Water Ltd :D). If not, it can be implemented in the irrigation systems, if your valley has agriculture developed.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic10 months ago
Juran K. Since the water is collected from the air it would be full of pollutants. Especially when collected during the winter heating season and under the inversion cap where the air is stale. It would have to be filtered. This would be feasible in areas like Peru where there is fog despite an overall shortage of water, as described here https://brainstorming.com/r/i36
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Juran10 months ago
Darko Savic Yes, vigorous filtering would be necessary. But once when you decide on using the electrostatic precipitator, it could be adjusted to collect water particles and separate them from the pollutants at the same time. It could be like one of those 2-in-1 systems.
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AI controlled fleet of drones flying in formation

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Dec 07, 2020


AI-controlled formation of drones could hover just above the inversion cap. The formation would be used to blow holes in the thick layer of fog, gradually but persistently. Specific drones would be directed to change position and height based on the changes in the fog cap. Once a hole is punched through, the drones would keep on making it wider to maximize the amount of sunlight reaching the ground.

To make an impact on the fog cap, the squadron would either have to consist of a large number of small drones or a smaller number of large drones.

The formation could fly in layers so that each layer takes over the water vapor from the previous layer and pushes it further down or to the side.

If necessary the drones could work in shifts, so that while one squadron recharges the batteries the other takes over the work.

Who would fund such a project?

The financial difference between a sunny and a foggy day directly impacts:
  • the amount/cost of energy people spend on heating
  • cumulative electricity produced by all the solar panels under the inversion cap
With a large enough town under the inversion cap, such a project would easily pay for itself with the energy saved. It would be in the town/county's best interest to fund it.

Private entities that directly profit from the sunlight could likely fit this project within their energy savings. Large solar electricity producers, greenhouse growers, etc.

Supplementing the drones with an array of mirrors

For maximum impact, the hole in the fog could be created over an array of mirrors. The mirrors would then reflect the sunlight to punch more holes at strategic locations in the fog or widen the existing one.

A quick and easy experiment

It would be interesting to see how a single drone affects the top of the inversion cap. This can be tested with 2 drones - one would record a video of the other hovering and move around the top of the cap. I'm doing it:)
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni10 months ago
Does the fog (or even rain or snow) affect the communication system of the drones? Also, does it affect the drone electrical circuits in any way? It might not hamper the functioning in the short run (single flight) but since the drones will be in contact with the fog till the fog disappears, it may take a while.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic10 months ago
Crazyflie 2.1 https://youtu.be/zgUz5USTw6c is another cool opensource quadcopter that could be programmed and upscaled for this purpose
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic10 months ago
I found this cool Ardubee open-source, programmable, modular platform https://youtu.be/B8Oy2AQCzGM which seems like the way to go for this drone swarm idea. The people behind this had an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign in November 2020.

This solution would need to be ported to bigger and stronger drones. I'm looking into it further
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General comments

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic10 months ago
Fog dispersal during world war 2 https://youtu.be/gAIjxaJ2_Ag
also, global warming on steroids:)
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
Cool drone footage showing the temperature inversion cap beginning to dissipate https://youtu.be/MXQ_g66x2GU
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
I wonder if a helicopter hovering just above the inversion lid would punch a hole in the layer. I can't find any videos showing that
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
Here is a short video explainer for the temperature inversion phenomenon https://youtu.be/T_U3TXHBt-0
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