Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 2 of 2 items for

  • Author or Editor: T. Lewis Thompson x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
Carl N. Hodges, T. Lewis Thompson, John E. Groh, and William D. Sellers


The University of Arizona has developed a sea water desalinization system which can economically utilize low temperature solar energy. The system consists of a horizontal plastic-covered solar collector, a packed-tower evaporator, and a finned-tube surface condenser. Incoming sea water is preheated in the surface condenser and then pumped to the solar collector where it is heated 5 to 10C. The heated sea water is pumped from the collector to the packed-tower evaporator, where a small fraction is evaporated into a circulating air stream and condensed as distilled water in the finned-tube surface condenser.

To evaluate the system a pilot plant has been constructed in cooperation with the University of Sonora at Puerto Peñasco on the Gulf of California. This plant is designed to produce between 2500 and 5000 gallons of fresh water daily.

The energy for evaporation in the system is derived from ocean water heated in the solar collector during the day. In order to allow design optimization for the entire plant the temperatures in the collector must be accurately predicted. It is shown that this can be done by a simple manipulation of the energy balance equation for the collector.

The resulting theory is applied to a number of cases involving a double glazing collector filled with 2 inches of water. Such a collector will utilize about 24 per cent of the available solar energy if the warm water in the collector in the late afternoon is flushed out and stored for nighttime use in the evaporator.

Full access
Darko Koračin, John Lewis, William T. Thompson, Clive E. Dorman, and Joost A. Businger


A case of fog formation along the California coast is examined with the aid of a one-dimensional, higher-order, turbulence-closure model in conjunction with a set of myriad observations. The event is characterized by persistent along-coast winds in the marine layer, and this pattern justifies a Lagrangian approach to the study. A slab of marine layer air is tracked from the waters near the California–Oregon border to the California bight over a 2-day period. Observations indicate that the marine layer is covered by stratus cloud and comes under the influence of large-scale subsidence and progressively increasing sea surface temperature along the southbound trajectory.

It is hypothesized that cloud-top cooling and large-scale subsidence are paramount to the fog formation process. The one-dimensional model, evaluated with various observations along the Lagrangian path, is used to test the hypothesis. The principal findings of the study are 1) fog forms in response to relatively long preconditioning of the marine layer, 2) radiative cooling at the cloud top is the primary mechanism for cooling and mixing the cloud-topped marine layer, and 3) subsidence acts to strengthen the inversion above the cloud top and forces lowering of the cloud. Although the positive fluxes of sensible and latent heat at the air–sea interface are the factors that govern the onset of fog, sensitivity studies with the one-dimensional model indicate that these sensible and latent heat fluxes are of secondary importance as compared to subsidence and cloud-top cooling. Sensitivity tests also suggest that there is an optimal inversion strength favorable to fog formation and that the moisture conditions above the inversion influence fog evolution.

Full access