Cloud Water

Water From CloudsThere’s a limited amount of fresh water on our planet, and in many parts of the world, it’s in short supply. So scientists and engineers are exploring new ways of harvesting our most precious resource. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Nealson: When you’re near the ocean, there always lots of humidity in the air. And at a place like Catalina, when we come out in the morning, you’ll see that on the tops of the hills, there are large cloud banks which are happily sitting there. Ken Nealson is the director of the Wrigley Institute on Catalina Island off the California Coast.Nealson: Lots of people don’t think about it, but a nice cloud weighs about the same as a 747. It’s a huge amount of water up there. If you could put a large condenser, like we use as a dehumidifier in our house to get rid of the water that’s in the air, and you run it with solar power, make it cold, and boom – you could probably harvest thousands of gallons a day, just from one of those clouds. And so, this is a dream that’s not just a dream. Companies are making these things. And this would be a great way on islands to deal with the water issue. People don’t realize the ability of these clouds to float. It’s quite miraculous, isn’t it? It’s a matter of density. And they’re sitting up there and pretty soon one of them can open up and rain thousands of gallons. And so you know that that’s pretty heavy stuff up there. And people have always talked about seeding clouds, but often when I come over on the boat in the morning, there are clouds sitting right at the top of our hills. And they’re just perfect fodder for the kind of things we’d like to do. Metzner: Harvesting water.Nealson: Harvesting water, exactly.I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Cloud Water

A large cumulous cloud weighs about the same as a 747.
Air Date:05/02/2018
Scientist:
Transcript:

Water From CloudsThere's a limited amount of fresh water on our planet, and in many parts of the world, it's in short supply. So scientists and engineers are exploring new ways of harvesting our most precious resource. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Nealson: When you're near the ocean, there always lots of humidity in the air. And at a place like Catalina, when we come out in the morning, you'll see that on the tops of the hills, there are large cloud banks which are happily sitting there. Ken Nealson is the director of the Wrigley Institute on Catalina Island off the California Coast.Nealson: Lots of people don't think about it, but a nice cloud weighs about the same as a 747. It's a huge amount of water up there. If you could put a large condenser, like we use as a dehumidifier in our house to get rid of the water that's in the air, and you run it with solar power, make it cold, and boom - you could probably harvest thousands of gallons a day, just from one of those clouds. And so, this is a dream that's not just a dream. Companies are making these things. And this would be a great way on islands to deal with the water issue. People don't realize the ability of these clouds to float. It's quite miraculous, isn't it? It's a matter of density. And they're sitting up there and pretty soon one of them can open up and rain thousands of gallons. And so you know that that's pretty heavy stuff up there. And people have always talked about seeding clouds, but often when I come over on the boat in the morning, there are clouds sitting right at the top of our hills. And they're just perfect fodder for the kind of things we'd like to do. Metzner: Harvesting water.Nealson: Harvesting water, exactly.I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.