Meteotron Jet Engines Create Clouds
A French scientist, J. Dessens of the Observatoire du Puy de Dome, Clermont University, reports in Nature the discovery by accident of a way to make tornadoes artificially – and therefore of a means of studying the conditions under which they arise.
On a plateau in the south of France the Observatory built an apparatus which was originally intended for making artificial cumulus clouds. It is called the Meteotron and consists of an array of 100 burners spaced over an area rather larger than a football field. Fuel is pumped into them and, together, they consume about a ton of oil a minute, producing the very considerable power of some 700,000 kilowatts. In operation the device produces a think column of black smoke that permits observations of the resulting upward air currents.