The physics of hole-boring in clouds and fogs by high-intensity ir laser beams is investigated in a zerothorder approximation. Simple analytical expressions are obtained which describe the phenomena of interest. Application of these expressions to various types of clouds and fogs yields order-of-magnitude estimates of the laser powers required to bore holes of a given size and quality. The power requirements for hole-boring through light ground fogs or thin overcasts are in excess of 100 kW, while hole-boring through thicker overcasts will require laser powers much in excess of 10 MW. Dispersal of ground fogs over an extended area will require laser powers in the 108–109-W range and thus may not be cost effective simply in terms of energy consumption.
R. C. Harney, "Hole-boring in clouds by high-intensity laser beams: theory," Appl. Opt. 16, 2974-2978 (1977)