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Water, Cloud Formation and Geology

Dr. Gerald Pollack is an engaging speaker with interesting thoughts and observations about water, and how it relates to electricity and light. His lecture on this is well worth a listen. Among other things, he explains how clouds are able to hang in the air without falling down, and how cloud formations stick together to form large structures.

Similarly, Henrik Svensmark’s documentary on cloud formation highlights some interesting aspects of weather patterns, especially the importance of cosmic radiation in the formation of clouds.

Clouds aren’t merely the result of heat and water vapor. There has to be aerosols in the air for them to form, and these aerosols come about naturally through cosmic radiation. This finding was contested in its time because it suggests that climate change is linked to variations in sun activity rather than human activity. But Svensmark managed to prove his theory, and his findings are now widely acknowledged. The water droplets that make up clouds require cosmic radiation to form.

This finding leads to another puzzle, highlighted by Pollack. How is it that the water droplets stick together to form clouds, and why don’t they fall down onto the ground? The answer to this can be found in the way water reacts to electromagnetic radiation, both in the visible and infrared range. Water, it turns out, becomes negatively charged in the presence of light.

With the surface of our planet also negatively charge, we end up with electrostatic repulsion between the ground and water droplets in clouds, and this is how clouds are kept suspended in the air.

Based on this, it seems strange that clouds stick together. Wouldn’t the electrostatic repulsion that exists between ground and water droplets also make water droplets separate from each other? The answer to this riddle can be found in the fact that the air between each water droplet is positively charged. Hence, we get an effect similar to what we have in the formation of molecules. The droplets push on each other, but the air that fills the gap between them pull them together. The equilibrium becomes the fluffy structures that we call clouds.

Rain can in turn be explained in terms of charge balancing. If a cloud becomes a lot more negatively charged than the ground, there will come a point where some of the charge in the cloud needs to be shared with the ground. Letting drops fall to the ground is an efficient way to do this. Even more efficient is the production of lightning. Thus we can see rain as a dark mode of electric flow between clouds and air, and lightning as the arc mode of this same electric flow.

An interesting observation in all of this is that storms have an eye in their center. This eye consists of dry positively charged air, and it’s this eye that holds the storm together. The negatively charged clouds stick to the eye that is held open through electrostatic repulsion between positively charged air molecules.

Eye of the storm
Eye of the storm

This same mechanism is likely to exist at the center of stars and planets. They too are likely to be hollow due to electrostatic repulsion. The negatively charged crust is in turn kept together in large part by this positively charge center.

Cross section of a hollow planet with repelling electric force at its core
Cross section of a hollow planet with repelling electric force at its core

This type of stability that comes as a consequence of two opposing forces acting together can also explain the stability of orbits. Gravity pulls astronomic objects together from their center. Electrostatic forces act from their surfaces to push them apart.

Electric repulsion and gravitational attraction
Electric repulsion and gravitational attraction

This can in turn explain why our moon is receding from us. If our planet is expanding, as it seems to have been doing ever since the dinosaurs, then our planet’s capacitance is increasing, leading to more surface charge. More surface charge leads to stronger electrostatic repulsion, and hence a receding moon.

South pole view of the expanding Earth
South pole view of the expanding Earth

In the end, everything is following the same pattern. There are opposing forces at all levels of existence, and they act together to form the stable structures that we see everywhere around us.

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