Authors: Charles L. Chandler
Comments: 15 Pages.
The Earth's crust is sub-divided into plates, whose relative motions are well known. But the energy driving those motions remains enigmatic. Convective potential (as gauged by radiative heat loss) is insufficient, amounting to merely 4% of the total crustal energy expenditure. Furthermore, it is going in the wrong direction, since temperatures in subduction zones are higher than in the mid-ocean ridges, and therefore the buoyancy should send the oceanic plates upward and outward from the "subduction" zones, and downward at the mid-oceanic ridges, if convective potential was powerful enough to be the driving force anyway. Deformation from tidal forces is another source of energy, but it supplies only 0.01% of the energy consumed in tectonic friction. Recent research has found a wide variety of evidence of electric and magnetic fields associated with tidal and seismic deformation, though the origin of those fields is unknown. The present work explores the possibility that the mantle below the Mohorovičić discontinuity is positively charged by electron degeneracy pressure. If so, there is an electric field between the positive ions below the Moho, and the expelled electrons above it. If the pressure remained constant, the charge separation would be static, establishing current-free double-layers. But tidal and seismic deformation alters the pressure at depth, meaning that the threshold for ionization is constantly shifting. The significance is that a shifting boundary will drive telluric currents, with electrons flowing upward (or downward) when the pressure is increased (or decreased). Thus the energy generated by crustal deformation has been underestimated, since only plastic and inelastic thermalization was considered, and not ohmic heating from telluric currents. The general form of the EM data matches the expectations of this hypothesis.
Authors: Charles L. Chandler
Comments: 287 pages, 170 images, 251 references
Supercell thunderstorms, and the tornadoes they spawn, are considered. Consistency with the current research trends within the disciplines of meteorology and geophysics is neglected in the pursuit of a mechanistic model that can more accurately describe the distinctive characteristics of tornadic supercells. Specifically, the common assumption that electromagnetism is too weak to influence the behavior of a supercell is challenged. The charge separation process in the storm creates electric fields that exert a force more powerful than gravity on charged particles, which then exert aerodynamic forces on the surrounding air, thereby modulating the flow fields. Charged gases also have lower viscosities, and therefore flow faster in pressure gradients. Furthermore, charged gases are less prone to turbulence, with dramatic effects on the net velocities. Studying supercells as charged gases might enable solutions to many otherwise intractable problems. Most significantly, a mechanistic model of the tornadic flow field is presented. While a tornado occurs within the influence of a low pressure aloft, and is typically thought to be a simple suction vortex, its defining characteristics are that the lowest pressure, tightest radius, and fastest wind speeds occur at the ground, farthest from the low pressure aloft, and where the friction is the greatest. This proves that the primary energy conversion occurs at the ground, and that the low pressure aloft is merely absorbing the exhaust from that conversion. In conventional meteorology, the only energy available for conversion near the ground is latent heat stored in water vapor, but the release of latent heat continues through the entire height of the tornado (and beyond), and therefore cannot be concentrated just at the base of the vortex. The only other force present is electromagnetism. Previous research showed that ohmic heating from the flow of an electric current through the tornado is more powerful than latent heating, but similarly, this energy is thermalized through the entire height of the vortex, leaving the extreme low pressure near the ground unexplained. The sustained current inside the tornado was confirmed by various methods to be greater than 100 amps. Inexplicably, evidence of such a current going into the ground has never been found. The possibility not considered by previous research is that the current terminates in the air itself, meaning that the tornadic inflow is charged. If so, it induces an opposite charge in the ground, and is attracted to that charge. As the air flows along the ground, skin friction generates heat. Once the air enters the vortex, the electric current neutralizes the charge, releasing the air from its attraction to the ground, and thus releasing the accumulated thermal potential. This means that the unexplained power expended by the tornado on the ground answers its own question, as the frictional heat so generated is the only energy that could cause a robust updraft so close to the ground, while the charge neutralization is the critical conversion. The energy budget of the entire tornado can then be reconciled as the sum of frictional heating at the ground, latent and ohmic heating inside the vortex, and the low pressure aloft. An extensive review of the data is made, without finding reason to abandon this model. The implications are then considered.