GSE Gravitational Systems Engineering, Inc.  
Dense Environmental Energy

Drought : Causes & Solutions: Abridged

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The Better Path To Eden...Locus amoenus

Drought : Causes & Solutions: Abridged

by G.A.Henderson

Director of Applied Research & Development

Gravitational Systems Engineering, Inc.



Causes, definitions and the state of the art:

Why it doesn't rain in the Saudi Arabia:













For the last 8000 years we have been walking away from Eden. In our quest for happiness we are becoming the scourge of our precious planet. Now is the moment when we must turn back and befriend Gaia, the life planet.

We as a species appear to be rapidly approaching the apoapsis of our existence.... ďEverything is downhill from here!Ē 

Pandora's Box an artifact of Greek mythology, derived from the myth of Pandora's creation in Hesiod's Works and Days. The "box" was actually a large jar given to Pandora which contained all the evils of the world.
There are many smart people who say that we must slow down, that human society is a tumor on the body of our planet. They prognosticate that the discovery of fossil fuels was our Pandora's Box [a box of devils and demons], and our tremendous reliance on them is our sword of Damocles, [a tragedy hanging over the head of the powerful].

Some argue that we must trim population growth... or Malthusian hunger will inevitably push us over the tipping point towards international and internecine conflict. We must stifle economic growth and forgo our lust for better living conditions, lest we melt the polar ice caps, and release vast quantities of methane from peat bogs and the sea floor!

Others insist that we must all huddle together in cities, and develop vast smart grids, to maximize the efficiency of energy use, as we drain the last few drops of the earth's precious fuels, and join hands and sing sad songs as we wait for the apocalypse.

Retrenchment sounds good, until you realize that we have no idea of what future challenges we will face. A pandemic, an asteroid impact, geological instability, or even a man-made catastrophe such as a regional nuclear war could easily kill a large enough percentage of human population to threaten us all with extinction.

Radical solutions to our growing disharmony with nature are being proposed daily to those of vast fortunes. Adding chemicals to airline fuels to increase cloud formation, or dumping them into the oceans to stimulate carbon capture are both being considered and most likely tested.

Yet, despite the tremendous scientific advances of our time, we are in a period of great scientific uncertainty.

Many of the top scientists of our day openly admit that they do not understand many fundamental concepts in spite of the practical advances that are the fruits of their discovery. For example the wave/particle dichotomy of light, quantum physics, and the dynamics of the atmosphere. This may be difficult to apprehend for the non-scientist, especially due to the amazing advances in semi-conductors and inter-planetary exploration. However, students of the history of science will easily recall the practical advances that were based upon eventually discredited theories such as phlogiston and ether, not to mention the failure of Newton's laws at both the cosmic and microscopic levels, despite centuries of predictive or empirical validation.

While ideas such as smart grids for energy and water have tremendous merit they suffer from the hubris of mankind, which assumes that natural systems can be replaced. I believe that we must harvest the tremendous environmental energy of dynamic states, in combination with robust curtailment of our primary energy usage.

As scientists I believe that we must focus on regional solutions that tend toward adaptation and which provide greater resilience in a changing environment. In coming years when our collective understanding of the fundamental nature of complex systems such as quantum mechanics and atmospheric dynamics is closer to certainty, then we can consider global solutions. However, global solutions based upon current knowledge will most assuredly result in irreducible uncertainties of vast scope and impact.

As a species humans are no nearer to our potentials than we were when in 1889 Charles H. Duell, the commissioner of the US patent office, declared that "everything has already been invented". While it is apparently true that through the advent of cultivation and later fossil fuel exploitation, our species has dominated the planet, yet we operate on non-evolutionary time and energy scales.  While our adaptive technologies have dramatically improved the nature and comforts of human life. Even poverty is on a continuum. Today's poor often live the lives of the rich from a century ago, with safe running water, electricity, refrigeration, and powerful therapies.

Unfortunately many of the irreducible consequences of "non-evolutionary anthropogenic transformation" of natural systems, to increase our comforts, are being reduced to pathologies. Soil failures, prey species collapse, and zoographic based pandemics were the first recognizable systemic failures of anthropogenic accelerated evolution. More recently the air and water pollution are becoming increasingly evident.  Will geologic, hydrologic, or atmospheric collapse be next?

Our contemporary issues, atmospheric concentrations, bio-diversity fragility, and decreasing population resilience are now being recognized as pathologies. The next challenge, which this book seeks to address, is failing regional and synoptic hydrology. This challenge has many faces; drought, desertification, wildfires and increasingly un-survivable geologic and weather events.

Evolutionary scholars such as Richard Dawkins put it most succinctly when they describe our relationship with the planet as a "Red Queen Race [Leigh Van Valen: 1973 : co-evolution of competing species]". Aptly named after the red queen in Lewis Carroll's "Through the looking-glass" who retorted "It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place."

All living species are constantly challenged by nature, parasites, food supply, and now eco-system collapse. We must keep running! Evolution can overcome most challenges given enough time. Perhaps not a Darwinian time scale [thousands of generations] but at least a Lamarckian scale[10's of generations]. However human society has, in our rush towards happiness, and will most likely continue to, overwhelm nature and naturally evolved systems. As natural systems fail humans must duplicate natural functions by the application of often tremendous energy. This energy is used to supply water, remove sewage, provide food, remediate the dead, and manage the atmosphere.

I don't agree with either slower or retrograde growth of human populations or society.  Rather than retreat we need to build resilience into ourselves and our energy and water systems.  We are fast becoming like ultra-urbane city dwellers who fear starvation during a restaurant strike. 

We have failed to embrace the understanding embodied in the formulas that can be derived from E=MC2.   In this book we will view water as the most useful form of energy.   Water is to energy, what money is to mankind "an efficient/effective way to communicate value".
When the Hindenburg exploded a lot of water was created.
Energy is neither a renewable nor non-renewable resource, energy is a function.   Energy is a function of states, of differences.   We have built a society on prehistoric energy, where we burn a 100 years of sunlight and gravity, as a fossil fuel, to light a small bulb for a few moments. Unfortunately, history is fast catching up with us. 

We must now continue our growth using modern energy functions known as DSEís [dynamic state energy]. We are familiar with some common DSE's such as solar, wind and hydro.  However these are just the beginning!

DSE's derive their energy from the same sources as fuel based energy stores such as oil, wood or radioactive ores, those sources are sunlight, gravity, and quantum imbalances. However DSE's represent fresh un-stored energy harvested before it is stored, we could say that the analogy describing the difference between DSE's and fuel (which are energy stored gradually for millions of years in a useful form), would be to compare eating an apple just picked from a tree, as compared to frozen apple juice. The frozen apple juice contains both energy expended in the past to make it, as well as the products of many apples (juice an apple and compare the volumes) and energy is required to release the stored product into a useable form. This is analogous to the spark or heat necessary to initiate combustion/oxidation or to begin a chain reaction. Yet in either fuels or DSE's the end product or affect is change, rate of change, and degree of change which relate directly to detectable energy, energy density, and energy magnitudes. (For a more detailed treatment of this topic please consult my book MetaEnergetics).

The natural macro energy sources of sunlight, planetary gravity and quantum entropy release energy equal to thousands of nuclear devices each second of our existence.

If we can understand change as energy, now we can embrace vast contemporaneous energy functions, such as gravity, momentum, inertia, vibration, atmospheric heat and atmospheric pressure. It is our understanding of the energy flows that comprise this planet, as streams of potentials that can fundamentally alter our relationship with hydrology and weather.  To this point we have reacted to the weather with complex adaptations.  Now we are at the beginning of an era where we will become planet partners, enhancing weather through regional hydrology.

Why so much discussion of energy in the preface of a book about drought and desertification? E=MC2 tells us that Empedocles' (ca. 495Ė435 BCE) four basic elements earth, air, fire, and water are simply different forms of energy. The first law of thermodynamics, conservation of energy, states that energy is always conserved through its transitions between forms.  Energy is ultimately both the source and solution to drought and desertification, water is simply the medium of exchange.  The challenge is not the existence of energy but instead the density and ease of activation.
The enduring appeal of fossil fuels has been their density and easy storage.  Yet these properties have driven us to create a society where even simple task are performed using vast amounts of energy, when compared to natural systems.  The comparison is stark when you consider the 1000:1 ratio in the number of Btuís consumed by a car ride of 1 mile, as opposed to a bicycle ride of the same distance.   These excessive energy conversions are nevertheless conserved and result in vast amounts of waste energy as heat, vibration, pollution and noise.  I love the symmetry of the self winding watch, a system that generates sufficient energy for its function by the context of its use.

The waste energy of human society has been largely normalized, as a fundamental by product of the function. Yet this waste energy is slowly changing the hydrological balance of populated areas, leading to droughts, wild fires, and dangerous weather systems.

A movie favorite of mine is Blade Runner, a 1982 dystopian science fiction film depicting Los Angeles in 2019.  I like this move not for its genetic androids, stunning action scenes, or adherence to the reluctant hero myths, I like it for its dreary weather.  The dark rainy weather in this film was the creative forecasts of what LA weather would be in 40 years, based upon LA weather during the 70's.   I lived in LA at that time and each day started with drastic ozone warnings, and almost constant smog.  Yet this dire fate was thwarted by technological and legislative initiatives which changed the arc of weather for that region.  Today LA is bright and sunny; the air is cleaner than it was in the 60's, despite increasing populations of both people and cars.

In this book I will discuss mitigation methods. Yet I want to be clear on one thing, despite the power of the methods and devices that I will describe, they will only work with continued effort to limit emissions, maintain vigilance of threats, and educate all citizens of the world as conservationists. I believe that just as with mold, which is ever-present, only becomes a problem when it is concentrated into boundless communities. And as those communities reach a certain scale, given the environment, they will start to stink....we are a lot like that mold, and we must care not to stink.

In this book I will make a strong case that if we can improve our cultural hygiene we don't need to stink.  Although the climate change debate is replete with unknowns, and perhaps overstated conclusions, I will make it clear that we are in large part in control of the winds, clouds, groundwater, and atmospheric heat.  We control these key aspects of world weather not just through greenhouse gases & deforestation, although their impacts are formidable, but also through the regional and inter-regional (synoptic) architecture of our society.   Here architecture is not just roof gables, but population concentrations, agricultural cultivation, and societal preferences!

The carrying capacity of earth is estimated to be as high as 150 billion humans, if natural systems are working at peak performance.  While 150 billion people would in my mind be a disaster at 7 billion we should not be throwing in the white flag of surrender.

All of our problems are problems of energy, and energy is us. All of our problems are at the most fundamental level energy problems.  If there is too much CO2 and other greenhouse gasses, we can build vast scrubbers that mitigate this problem.  Hydrological imbalances such as droughts or desertification can be mitigated with canals and pumps.  Or with sufficient dense energy, like the rain from the Hindenburg, we could simply make water from oxygen and hydrogen.

Time has proven that while much progress is made through academic incremental improvements, the paradigm shifts necessary to move the culture forward generally spring from those bold and brash enough to take the risks that the most knowledgeable thought untenable.

From Newton, Darwin, Edison, the Wrights, to Craig Venter...fortune favors the bold. We can wring our hands about a changing climate, and make changes to adapt to bad weather, or we can realize that we are entering a period where we have trillions of dollars and billions of lives invested in the climate operating within a very limited range. As we move forward with human society the predictability of the climate and  weather will carry consequences that are increasingly vital to our long term survival as a species.

In this book my goal is to employ synergistic reductionism to examine and address the latter problems of drought and desertification. Through-out the text I have include many fully attributed illustrations that reveal many of the deeper concepts of drought mitigation, and I recommend that the reader examine these secondary resources to fully apprehend the concepts explored here. The target audience for this work includes students, environmental activists, and above all legislators with the responsibility for improving the lives of their constituents.   My research is based upon the grounded constructive method, from hypothesis to empirical validation using primarily historical data and secondary sources.

I want to introduce the readers, in an accessible way, to vast environmental energy sources that can provide the pivotal energy to mitigate droughts and desertification and once again change the arc of weather.  I am not alone in predicting and planning weather management related projects.  Today many scientists are just beginning the analysis of anthropogenic effects on regional weather through vast wind farms wakes, [which are known to affect atmospheric temperatures, humidity, wind speeds and directions], and many other exciting perspectives that I will discuss in the first sections of this work.

We need to add some new keys to our personal environmental song books, we already consider pollution, and greenhouse gases.  Now we need to educate the populace on hydrology and weather, so that the public can begin to play a role is creating a world that is calm, beautiful, health giving, and abundant.

I unequivocally believe that "we can change the weather via hydrology, region by region, and that by changing regional weather we can stabilize the climate".

Through-out this book I will return to a constant theme of balance between living and non-living systems.  A return to the evolved balances of nature.  My vision, is that when aliens approach the earth by the year 3,000 CE, they would think of our world as a natural paradise of green and blue.  Where man is a part of nature as opposed to its competitor or despoiler!

Authors note:  This is the first in a series of weather/hydrology/energy mitigation books please support this work by add a copy to your library, or referencing, or linking to, it in you work. 

 Look for these titles in the future:

  1. A permanent end to regional flooding : 2013/14
  2. Regional storm mitigation: 2014/15
  3. Practical mechanical weather control: 2016/18


A brief introduction to non-evolutionary drought and mechanical hydrology maintenance:

(abstract of paper presented to the IDA international desalination association 2013, and CTI cooling tower industry association 2012)

Drought is an increasing concern in many important regions around the world.  in 2013 over 60% of the US is currently in drought status.  As droughts increase in severity and frequency, many communities are beginning to look at the industrial cooling as an important competitor for regional water supplies. 

Hydrological imbalance is being added to pollution and fuel source depletion as of primary environmental concern.  Due to past best cooling practices many in the environmental community has long sought to manage industrial or commercial use of water supplies, thermal loads, and pollution, especially as applied to the power generation industry.

There is also a rising tide of state and federal regulations which may force both new and existing facilities to consider non-potable water sources for industrial cooling.

As agricultural irrigation evolves worldwide, to manage competition with other regional water stakeholders, industrial cooling comes under greater regional scrutiny.  Industrial concerns can lead in this increasingly important sector. Industrial cooling stakeholders can both minimize competition and become active agents of drought mitigation and remediation.  Industrial cooling can both reduce pressure on regional water supplies, as well as providing a significant source of regional potable water supplies at costs that are fractional when compared to traditional desalination methods.

Many governmental and academic studies of the usage of non-potable water, especially related to the power generation industry, in industrial cooling have concluded that both the technical feasibility and environmental impacts are manageable and largely benign. References to many of this studies are listed at the end of this document.   This paper presents one long term solution that will allow the cooling industry to become a source of hydrological balance, as opposed to being a competitor for increasingly precious potable water resources.

In brief the solution is where ever possible to employ brackish, or greywater, as cooling source water, as well as the modification of cooling methods to optimize especially tower plumes to support cloud formation.

Employing industrial cooling methods to Increase cloud formation from potable or non-potable sources can provide potable water, as rainfall or fog, in distant land locked areas which are impractical to service especially in developing economies.

This paper will describe methods for increasing supplies of non-potable water, even in locations remote from original sources.  Additionally the paper will detail several design features of cooling towers which will optimize tower plumes to assist regional cloud formation.

The traditional role of energy concentration on the development of drought and desertification.

Industrial cooling is a form of non-evolutionary energy concentration.  Natureís carrying capacity for large energy releases is significant.  In areas where volcanoes are common the vegetation, subterranean structures, and surface structures are optimized over many centuries to support life at a maximal or optimal level of density. 

When mankind introduces industrial cooling methods, we have effectively introduced a slow volcano which lingers, spewing energy through cooling towers and other radiant heat, for decades.  The laws of conservation of energy dictates that all of the energy of vast fuel stores are converted, by power generation, into heat, radiation, hydraulic pressure,  kinetic energy, greenhouse gases or massÖ never destroyed! 

The naturally evolved hydrological balance of a region is largely synchronous with the natural heat signature of the region.   Temperate regions, especially those of mid-latitudes are based upon a robust balance of vegetation and heat sources which circulate water through the water cycle. The result is that natureís hydrological balance is affected slowly but consistently through significant new energy streams,

Intense life concentrations, such as large livestock operations, and cities also represent non-evolutionary energy concentrations.  A large city effectively represents multiple constantly active volcanoes for that region.  The increased weight on subterranean structures increases long wave radiation.  Combustion, which is effectively the release of stored sunlight and gravitational compression, of imported fuels and grid energy is equal to the output of major volcanoes erupting every day for decades of even centuries.

On a quiet afternoon in May 1980 Mount St. Helens, a mountain in the Cascade volcanic arc, released 24 megatons of energy into the regional atmosphere!  It was the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in known US history.  Nearly 60 people died, and 250 homes, 15 miles of rail road tracks, 185 miles of highway, and 47 bridges were destroyed. 

Each group of 718 people on average converts/generates  the energy of a small atomic bomb, 13-18 Kilotons daily!  [remember energy is never destroyed it is always converted into another form of energy such as heat or other combustion by-products]

Cities are like volcanic arcs.  Every million people, in the developed economies primarily, add the equivalent of one Mt. St. Helens into the regional atmosphere each day!  Cairo generates 20 Mount St. Helens sized energy streams into the regional atmosphere each day, New York generates 11 Mount St. Helens, while Los Angeles only generates 8 Mount St. Helen every day!  An industrial scale farm generates multiple Mount St. Helens each day.


These energy streams combine with other manmade features to slowly alter regional hydrology, resulting in gradual desertification of often distant regions.  Some other manmade features such as farms and roadways, which are often vast deforested artificially contoured areas with enforced mono-cultures, enhance wind velocities pulling moisture towards large energy streams such as cities, farms or volcanoes!  Watch the national weather and these patterns are clearly, if not consistently, demonstrated.  Winds and storms follow manmade contours over farms toward population centers.  Wind velocities are enhanced by the long expanses of relatively smooth surfaces presented by farm land and roadways, as compared to normal PBL (planetary boundary layer) grounds covered by trees and naturally occurring hills.  



Chapter 1: Drought and desertification as an energy problem:

A brief overview of the nature of drought and desertification via an examination of the nature of drought from the water as energy perspective of the book.  Overview of the authors view of current and ideal hydrological cycles.


Chapter 2: Human Causes of Droughts & Desertification:

Examination of those market and cultural forces which have led to the current rash of droughts around the world.  Introduction of human potentials for control of regional hydrological cycles.


Chapter 3: Effects of Drought & Desertification:

Why should we care about long term drought and desertification?  How will un-checked drought, or the continued expansion of human society without proper regard for hydrological cycles will lead us.


Chapter 4- 17: Solutions to Regional Drought & Desertification: (abridged) [Paid Access Only]

Detailed treatment of atmospheric humidity management.  Examination of current techniques, and legislative guides to reducing atmospheric temperatures, increasing cloud cover, and enhancing ground water recharge.


References and Recognitions: (note: most illustration link back to their original sources)







Contents: (note: This is a work in progress and updates from the main work are only included in this abridged volume periodically)




Causes, definitions and the state of the art:

Why it doesn't rain in the Saudi Arabia:


Chapter 1:

Drought and desertification as an energy problem
Water is a form of energy.
An overview of regional hydrology
Natural causes of drought & desertification
Chapter 2:

Human Causes of Droughts & Desertification

Primary Climate Modification Hypothesis

Pressure on regional water supplies
   Hydrological and Geologic Forcing
   Reduction of non-renewable resources
   Thermal Pollution
   Economic pressures

Summary of human causes.
Chapter 3:

Effects of Drought & Desertification

Economics & Politics of drought
Environmental impacts of drought & desertification
   Wild fires
   Dangerous weather
Chapter 4:

Solutions to regional drought
Current practice: Drought adaptation & Mitigation

Drought Mitigation Basics

Theory: Heat Islands contribute to drought

Chapter 5:

Methods of drought mitigation

Chapter 6:

Reduce average regional temperatures

Reduce Short-wave Heat Reflection.

Reduce Long wave Heat Generation.


Legislative guides:

Municipal Planners Guidelines.

Rural Planning Guidelines.

Chapter 7: 

Increase regional precipitation
Productive cloud formation

Increase regional humidity


Legislative guides:

Municipal Planners Guidelines.

Rural Planning Guidelines.
Chapter 8:

Increase regional cloud cover


Legislative guides:

Municipal Planners Guidelines.

Rural Planning Guidelines.
Chapter 9:

Secondary Industrial cloud  formation
Power Generatons

Refining Industries


Legislative guides:

Municipal Planners Guidelines.

Rural Planning Guidelines.

Chapter 10:

Increase groundwater retention levels
Ensure rainfall goes to groundwater

Manage un-productive runoff

Urban solutions


Legislative guides:

Municipal Planners Guidelines.

Rural Planning Guidelines.
Chapter 11:

Increase regional precipitation


Legislative guides:

Municipal Planners Guidelines.

Rural Planning Guidelines.
Chapter 12:

Primary municipal cloud generation

Ground based municipal cloud seeding


Legislative guides:

Municipal Planners Guidelines.

Rural Planning Guidelines.

Chapter 13:

Summary: Solutions to regional drought


Legislative guides:

Municipal Planners Guidelines.

Rural Planning Guidelines.

Chapter 14:

The ideal energy/water city
Realistic valuation of energy resources
Manage all spheres of resources
Let nature dictate maximum city size

Chapter 15: Methods Matrix
Addendums Desalination via increased regional rainfall : IDA 2010
Optimization of industrial cooling towers to combat regional drought: CTI 2013











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