Tag Archives: engineering

Storm’s Weather Control

Succeeding Cyclops as leader of the X-men, Storm is an extremely powerful mutant with the psionic ability to control all forms of weather over vast areas.  She can control the temperature of the environment, control all forms of precipitation, humidity and moisture, generate lightning, and has control over atmospheric pressure. She has the ability to incite all forms of meteorological tempests, including tornadoes, thunderstorms, blizzards, and hurricanes, as well as dissipate such weather to form clear skies.

While science has yet to perfect the art of controlling weather as seen in comics within a single individual, weather manipulation and modification on a much larger scale has been studied in depth.  Cloud seeding is the practice of changing the amount or type of precipitation that falls from clouds, by dispersing substances into the air that serve as cloud condensation or ice nuclei, which alter the microphysical processes within the cloud.  A rainstorm happens after moisture collects around naturally occurring particles in the air, causing the air to reach a level of saturation at which point it can no longer hold in that moisture. Cloud seeding essentially helps that process along, providing additional “nuclei” around which water condenses.

Cloud seeding has been used all over the world to help cure droughts by creating artificial rain or prevent crop-damaging hail storms.  Before the 2008 Summer Olympics, silver iodide rockets were fired over Beijing in order to clear the air of pollution and to ensure that skies would be clear for the opening ceremony.  Cloud seeding has been shown to be effective in altering cloud structure and size and in converting supercooled liquid water to ice particles; however, the amount of precipitation due to seeding is difficult to quantify. A key challenge is in discerning how much precipitation would have occurred had clouds not been seeded.  Not everyone is convinced of its effectiveness and many have concerns about its environmental implications.  Much further study is needed before cloud seeding can even hope to approach the level of perfect control over weather as we see in comics.

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