Anomalous cloudiness and precipitation caused by industrial heat rejection

by Lloyd Randall Koenig

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Three distinct local weather anomalies caused by waste heat rejected from large cooling towers directly into the atmosphere are assessed: (1) conductive cloudiness and rainfall caused by the energy perturbation that waste heat places on the atmosphere; (2) snowfall caused by the glaciation of plumes from wet cooling towers; and (3) rainfall increases caused when natural precipitation falls through and scavenges plume condensate. Theory predicts the last possibility to be of minor concern. Criteria to predict plume glaciation and snowfall based on plume temperature and ambient air moisture are obtained from observations (of others) and theory. Observations on a variety of sources, including industries rejecting large quantities of heat and their analogs, are used as a basis to obtain speculative criteria to predict acceptable and unacceptable waste heat practice from the standpoint of the stimulation of convective cloudiness and associated phenomena such as rainfall.

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