Suppose you had a tower-like mega-structure, rooted all the way into near-infinite geo-thermal energy of the Earth's crust, connected to the ocean such that water is not a limiting factor to the super-structure, and extending fully through the atmosphere into space. Is there a plausible way for this mega-structure to maintain a powerful and permanent cyclonic storm around itself?

Specifically, I am interested in a "cyclonic storm" defined as a sort of super-hurricane, a violent, rotating weather system maintained by a vertical superstructure in it's eye. The storm system could be layered along the same lines as earths atmosphere, or it be organized beyond them. (Secondary questions: how wide could the eye be? How wide could the storm get?)

Perhaps by raising heat and moisture into the upper atmosphere and distributing it in a controlled way and/or placing a rotating sunshade in space to control the the thermal contribution of the sun? Perhaps by thermally superconductive materials transferring heat to water or cold moist air? How could the weather be made to spin around a super structure?

EDIT: I received notification that this question could be considered a duplicate of the question, "How can I ensure my Evil Tower is always stormy?" The primary differences are the scale and that the storm is a cyclonic storm around the structure, not floating overhead. The tower-like mega structure in my question reaches space, and would be between 100 and 200 km in diameter at it's base. The storm surrounding it would be broad and powerful enough to affect dramatic watershed change in a radius of 100s of km, and make foot traffic to the structure impossible. Study of Cyclonic storms and the answers I've already received indicate the answers to "How can I ensure my Evil Tower is always stormy?" would not produce these effects. This is not scary cloud, it is a meteorological catastrophe.

  • $\begingroup$ Am I correct in assuming that the general idea is for geothermal heat from the core to be conducted to the surface, where it heats the ground level atmosphere, and at the same time the upper atmosphere is cooled by the top of the structure radiating heat into space? The heat differential between the ground and the upper atmosphere creates a tremendous up-draft? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 25, 2018 at 22:35
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    $\begingroup$ Justin, would that work? I'm not a meteorologist clearly, but I imagine to create an updraft that continued all the way to the thermosphere would require multiple points of input, or surface heat release on par with a major volcanic eruption. Also, my understanding of cyclonic storms observed in nature is that the "eye" (where the megastructure would be) is actually a downdraft. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 25, 2018 at 23:17
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    $\begingroup$ You might want to research the difference between a cyclone, a tornado, and a whirlwind. It sounds more like you might be creating some form of firenado. livescience.com/45676-what-is-a-firenado.html $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 26, 2018 at 2:01
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, Justin, I edited the post to attempt try to clarify what I meant by "cyclonic." $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 26, 2018 at 3:56
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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of How can I ensure my Evil Tower is always stormy? $\endgroup$
    – Mr.J
    Commented Sep 26, 2018 at 7:17

1 Answer 1


Larry Niven's The Ringworld Engineers uses the concept that superconducting material has the same temperature everywhere along its length — in his case, a coil of cable (paraphrasing) between the focus of some solar cooking plants and an ocean. The ocean boiled. If the building's exterior were made of superconducting material, the geothermal high heat must try to equalize in the upper atmosphere.

But, this would only work if the region the building was built in was basically a cold, humid climate— lots of cold water vapor in the atmosphere trying to deal with the super heated building exterior. Hot building, cold moist air, storm.

Why would you want this? Because you want the heat differential to power the building (think thermoelectric generator). You don't want the heat on the inside, cooking the occupants. You want it on the outside. The storm is the excess heat boiling off into the moist, cold atmosphere (not unlike a cooling tower, but on a much more grand scale).


Just to bring the comment discussion into the answer. Let's assume a cylindrical building with a diameter of 150Km. That's bigger than the eye of many storms, but this building is producing a constant and substantial amount of heat all along its outer shell.

Wikipedia has a reasonable article about cyclones, and that article includes this lovely infographic:

enter image description here

See that lovely red spiral in the middle? That's your building. Heated air spinning with the storm as it rises along the outer wall.

Like all large storms, the spinning comes from the Corriolis force, and considering how stable this storm is (and, frankly, how large), it will spin.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for the concept of superconducting material, that is useful to my world building! $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 26, 2018 at 3:46
  • $\begingroup$ I think that this does a good job approaching how to create weather energy, and perhaps even answering the title question, but I'm still wondering how it could cause the weather to rotate. I edited the question summary, in the original I may not have been clear on my definition of "cyclonic." $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 26, 2018 at 3:55
  • $\begingroup$ That would be a natural consequence of the corriolis force. In other words, if the storm is stable, it must spin. However, this will be dependent on the size (crossection) of your building. The smaller the eye of the storm, the less likely there's an eye. I'm going to assume a building that stretches into space will have a footprint measured in at least thousands of square kilometers. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Sep 26, 2018 at 4:10
  • $\begingroup$ Would there would be a maximum size? Could you see an eye as large as 150 kilometers in diameter, if the dramatic differential of heat and moisture was occurring around it's edge? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 26, 2018 at 4:48
  • $\begingroup$ Absolutely. Indeed, thanks to the presence of your building, there isn't a choice. but, if you review how cyclones work, you'll discover that what we've been talking about is exactly what will happen. As heat rises from the tower (starting at ground level...), it will literally cause the cyclonic effect. Just to make it easier on the storm, make your building a cylinder. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Sep 26, 2018 at 4:51

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