Astride a Carpet of Storms

Anthony Repetto
5 min readMar 22, 2024


~ How-to-Guide for attracting Tempests to your doorstep ~

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

TL;DR — Hot, humid, icy or dusty air convects upwards, and those particles rub against each other, creating an electrical charge on the rising particles (the electrons rubbed-OFF, carrying their negative charge with them, while the rising particles are rising-away with a positive charge). Once that charge-separation happens, we get a Thunder Cloud! Those huge charged clouds can be PULLED towards you from hundreds of miles away by even a small oscillation in charges, up & down the surface of an array of tall towers. Beckon the Thunder!

Key Design Concepts

We want really tall towers which are going to connect & disconnect, electrically, from the ground itself, in a resonant oscillation (matched to the travel-time for the electrical pulse to travel down the tower’s lightning rod). The Earth itself is negatively charged — it has extra electrons. Meanwhile, the Sky is generally positively charged — it lacks enough electrons! So, if we have a tall-enough tower, with a wire from the ground up into the sky, then we can bridge the gap between the bottom of the wire and the ground, to allow the negative charges of the Earth to flow UP into the SKY!

Yet! We don’t want a continual flow of charges — the sky runs out of places to PUT all those electrons. Instead, we want to oscillate. So, we have a switch that bridges from the bottom of the Tower Wire, near our knees, and it connects to the grounding-wire, which is plugged into the ground to dissipate charge. When we flip that switch, the negative charges rush UP the wire. Now, suppose that we had a SECOND wire along this Tower, which was NOT connected to the ground, but it was NEXT-to our grounded Tower Wire?

The Negative Charges on our grounded Tower Wire are going to repel negative charges on our Secondary Wire, leaving it Positively charged. But, where do the extra negative charges go? Just like a storm-cloud, they are stored on the far-side of the Secondary Wire! They got pushed-aside. So, you have driven a charge on a CAPACITOR, the Secondary Wire.

To make that work as proper engineering, we’ll segment the grounded Tower Wire and the Secondary Wire EACH into many, many stacked capacitors, running in series up the height of this tower. And, to make them cheap, we’ll just use big, cylindrical balloons, with interior charge-plates, as a Clown-Birthday version of an Air Capacitor. Yet, we’ll need to use a buoyant gas, so that these balloon-chains will *loft* themselves high into the air, like sausage-links made of bubbles! The Balloon-Chains ARE the Tower.

No need to over-engineer to survive high winds — the balloons are flexible and tethered in a few places. Done! Cheap means you don’t care much if they’re damaged. And, that means we’d prefer to design them to be *redundant* too. So, a whole cluster of balloons would sit at each layer, like a honeycomb of giant bug-eggs, and these layers would pancake-stack upwards, each balloon in their sausage-chain of Air Capacitors reaching a mile-up into the sky.

At each elevation’s layer of tube-balloons stacked like eggs in a carton, these capacitors are wired-in to operate in parallel — they can disperse the immense 40kAmps of current coming from a lightning bolt, spread across all the balloons on that same layer, when the need arises! Yet, along the chain stretching-down from Jack’s Bean Stalk, the Air Capacitors are wired in Series, to discharge into Utilities and Industry during a manageable number of milliseconds. No explosive thunder-plasma-bursts!

’Kay. But… WHY?!

We will be switching and oscillating that charge of these capacitors, in a huge tower stretching 1,500 meters into the air. Sometimes, it’s negatively charged like the Earth. Other times, it’s positively charged, like the air usually is. Yet, a STORM cloud, far away, has separated its charges *vertically* — the particles which drifted upwards were the ones who lost electrons, and so the TOP of the storm is positively-charged, while the BOTTOM is negative.

When our towers are oscillating, becoming negative for a moment, then we become slightly attractive to the positive tops of those storm-clouds, while being repulsive to the bottoms of those same clouds! Then, a moment later, we burp-back to the normal positive charge of the air, which relaxes that initial wave of pressure upon the storm. As a result of our *tower* oscillation, we create an ambient oscillating electrical field, which echoes through the storm, to TUG it in opposing directions! That tug creates more collisions, which increases temperature, as well as driving even MORE charge-separation in the storm-cloud, for an even-stronger reaction to our Tower Oscillator.

Those collisions, and the heat they produce, will be stronger in the regions of the storm which are nearer-to our towers, because they experience a stronger field. SO: the *side* of the storm near us is warmed and ionized, driving its own amplification and up-lift. It convects *towards* us. The storm is *pulled* into your towers.

How much force do you need to PULL a storm?

A storm occupying 1,000,000,000,000 cubic meters of air weighs roughly 1 Gigaton. And if we want to accelerate that mass, there’s inertia to overcome… but we’re mostly worried about the *friction* of moving it. Thankfully, when layers of air flow, all the same pressure in their layer, they have plenty of room between higher and lower layers of air to work-out most of their differences. As a result, air-streams are mostly ‘laminar’ (smooth-flowing and low friction) until there is a high velocity and high shear. Pulling a mass of 1 Gigaton IS possible, eventually, if friction is low — and that laminar flow gives us very, very low friction. For a ‘friction coefficient’ of 1:100,000, then we CAN pull a storm to us with a total electrical field-force of 10 MegaNewtons, the weight of just 100 Elephants to pull a storm 400 square miles in area. Across a SINGLE tower of balloons some 1,500m tall and 160m wide, that’s a force-density of 42 N/m2… the weight of a TENTH-of-an-inch-thick stack of paper. You would probably want many towers, in an array, each charging their balloons enough to nudge lightning using only the force of a folded newspaper.

Oh, and those storms will bring you rain…

That 1,000,000,000,000 m3 of air can readily carry 1Megaton of water your way. Achieve that feat once every two weeks, on average, and you’ve irrigated 75km2, which is more than 14,000 acres here in the States!

If you want to go nuts, then make the Balloon Tower a hollow chimney instead, and put it at the top of a giant funnel with its mouth open-wide downwards, facing the ground, which pulls air in from all edges down at the ground-level. Cover the ground beneath the clear-plastic and aluminum-frame funnel in blackened tiles, to turn sunlight into convection-power, boosting your pull on those storms AND creating the heat, friction, and ionization that you need. Interested?