WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

In the present light of the on going drought conditions has it occured to anyone that with the tremendous amounts of R.F. energy being blasted out into the atmosphere from a multitude of sources (eg: doppler radars, radio, t.v., cells and other civilian as well as military based R.F. sources) that this in some fashion may affect the formation of viable rain clouds. As you know the microwave oven operates by serious agitation of water molecules in the food item to produce heat thus cooking the item. Just a passing thought for your consideration. Granted the microwave runs in a more concentrated area and focus,but think of the magnitude of whats flying around locally and world wide.

Posted March 9, 2008

MIKE MOSS SAYS:     J.,     I wouldn't pretend to have all the answers on that interesting question by any means. You are correct that a lot of energy is transmitted through the air at radio and microwave frequencies. Generally speaking, the energy density of those transmissions, though, is very low compared to what happens inside a microwave oven. Nonetheless, there is certainly a transfer of some fraction of the emitted energy into the atmosphere that would translate into some amount of sensible heat. However, as an influence on drought and precipitation, it would seem to be a very slight one compared to large scale weather influences like the El Nino/La Nina patterns and other modulating oscillations of that nature, and one that would be very difficult to tease out regarding any impact on precipitation at a given location. Keep in mind that althrough we have been in a serious drought locally, there have been devastating droughts throughout recorded history before there were human-generated radio and microwave transmissions. Likewise, while parts of the United States are in significant drought at this time, others (central Rockies, Midwest, Ohio Valley and Northeast) are experiencing unusually moist conditions on short and longer-term scales. Especially in regards to the northeast and Ohio Valley, there is certainly a great abundance of radar, microwave, cellular, television, and commercial radio transmissions active on a continuing basis that would not seem to have prevented well-above normal precipitation.


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