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# How clouds act as an air pump to suck in air. Not how you think they do! Answered

I have been thinking a long time about the biotic pump theory but I still don't understand it.  The math is too hard for me.   BUT it got me to thinking.   It is a point of major dispute in the meteorological world.   Does condensation cause low pressure?  2 russian nuclear physicists say yes,  almost everyone else says no!   So,  I thought and thought and thought.  Now I think I have a simple enough explanation And yes, they may not necessarily cause low pressure under the cloud (probably do)  but they definitely suck in air from elsewhere.  Imagine a fleet of huge doughnut shaped dirigible airships. They are sitting at 10,000 ft just floating there.   Now the commander tells everyone that they must now fly at 5000 ft.   So they turn on their propellers (in the hole in the doughnut) and drop down to 5000 ft by propelling air up  through the hole.   Now staying at 5000 ft is achieved by running the propellers at just fast enough.  So at 5000 ft they are pumping air from under the doughnuts to above them.   Now imagine a cumulus cloud.  Even though it is not fixed in size or shape and it does not have a propeller,  it is doing the exact same thing.  Air is being pumped up the middle and the clouds are sitting lower in the sky than they "should",  because they are sending that column of air up into the sky.   Here is my video to explain it visually.
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Cumulus clouds "sit" at the top of a rising column of [relatively] warm air.

That air is laden with water vapour, which condenses out to form the cloud when the surrounding air temperature drops far enough. The rising air does not stop at that point, it continues rising until its density matches that of the surrounding air. The cloud is not at the "wrong" height, and it is pumping nothing - the rising air is pushing through the visible water droplets.

.......

If the column of air is warm enough, it rises fast enough to lift the condensed water to altitudes cold enough to freeze the water into tiny crystals. These crystals clump together until they are too heavy to be supported by the rising air. They fall.

As the still-wet air reaches its maximum altitude, it spreads out, spreading out the top of the cloud to form a cumulonimbus, the familiar anvil-shape.

As the large crystals fall, charge is transferred between the rising small crystals and the falling large crystals, generating a potential difference between the top and bottom of the cloud.

When that difference is great enough, charge can jump between parts of the cloud and, about 5% of the time, between the cloud and the ground.

Lightning.

The energy given off when condensation occurs is significant, that energy (released in the bottom of the cloud as condensation takes place) is what drives the cloud pump. It is a lot of energy and it drives the acceleration of the air up through the cloud. Dry air exits above the cloud. You cannot see it because it is dry. This means that cloud pumps are one of the drivers of the Hadley cells and probably other circulations too.

intersting idea. can a gaseous blob produce thrust?

i'm not saying it cant, not saying it can. but everything i think of producing thrust is fairly solid. propellor, rocket etc.

the 1st functional steam engine was a condensation vacuum driven engine. Water takes up a LOT less space as a liquid . a cloud is water drops. theres my theory