Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 09-15-2017, 02:15 PM
HeyHomie HeyHomie is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Viburnum, MO
Posts: 9,157
Is Artificially Weakening/Destroying a Hurricane Possible, Even In Theory?

Given the destruction wrought by Harvey and Irma, to say nothing of the hundreds of destructive hurricanes that came before it, I'm curious if the idea of artificially altering hurricane strength (or existence) has any basis in science. ISTR that the Navy(?) gave it a half-assed effort in the 70's, to mixed results - but that memory is based on hazy memories of reading assignments in 11th grade Science class, and I may be way off.

Anyway, could this be done in theory? Clearly, humankind is capable of affecting the weather on a macro scale (viz climate change), but what about on a micro scale?
__________________
If you see "Sent from my phone blah blah blah" in my post, please understand that this is automatic when I post from my phone, and I don't know how to disable it. Sorry.
  #2  
Old 09-15-2017, 02:19 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 73,023
In theory? Sure. But it would require manipulation of energies on a scale many orders of magnitude greater than what we're currently capable of.
  #3  
Old 09-15-2017, 02:35 PM
HeyHomie HeyHomie is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Viburnum, MO
Posts: 9,157
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
In theory? Sure. But it would require manipulation of energies on a scale many orders of magnitude greater than what we're currently capable of.
OK, but how?
__________________
If you see "Sent from my phone blah blah blah" in my post, please understand that this is automatic when I post from my phone, and I don't know how to disable it. Sorry.
  #4  
Old 09-15-2017, 02:39 PM
USCDiver USCDiver is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: NC
Posts: 4,841
Use a bunch of mega fans on mega boats to introduce some wind shear.

https://www.wunderground.com/education/shear.asp
  #5  
Old 09-15-2017, 02:40 PM
k9bfriender k9bfriender is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 4,706
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyHomie View Post
OK, but how?
My thought would be to tow an iceberg the size of a state into the path of the hurricane, then use conventional explosives to break it up into smaller chunks.

Covering the ocean with ice chunks would decrease the feeding of the hurricane, increase the pressure inside the eye, and decrease surface area.

I don't know if this would have much of an effect, or how big an iceberg you would need, but, cooling the ocean and covering it to prevent evaporation would have an effect in the right direction, though I have no idea what sort of magnitude it would be.
  #6  
Old 09-15-2017, 02:48 PM
Pantastic Pantastic is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 3,011
There was a silly attempt made to divert Irma: #unitedwefan http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-...dI6G9XnWI.html

Most of the realistic proposals involve changing the hurricane's path, since it's possible to manipulate pressure and humidity in a broad area. One of the political issues with modifying a hurricane is liability; if you divert the hurricane and it does damage where you divert it to, are you responsible for the damage? If the US diverts a hurricane into Mexico, is that an act of war by the US against Mexico? There's a whole largely untouched field of law that would need to be sorted out before anyone would want to do something like this in the real world.
  #7  
Old 09-15-2017, 03:52 PM
squidfood squidfood is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 340
You sit in Cape Verde and release butterflies whenever a breeze wafts by.
  #8  
Old 09-15-2017, 04:41 PM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: State of Jefferson
Posts: 7,602
Dehumidifing the in-flow would quench the storm ... disrupting the out-flow and/or heating the air aloft ... create a better pathway for energy to flow from the equator to the poles ...

Really, the only practical way to disrupt hurricanes would be to stop making manufactured homes ... this would also end tornadoes ...
  #9  
Old 09-15-2017, 05:07 PM
PastTense PastTense is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 6,061
The only weather modification I am aware of is cloud-seeding:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_seeding

Would this do anything for hurricanes?
  #10  
Old 09-15-2017, 05:23 PM
Darren Garrison Darren Garrison is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 4,840
I remember a non-fiction piece from a SF magazine (googling shows it to be Defeating the Son of Andrew by Leon O. Billig in the February 1994 issue of Analog, but no text of the article available) that proposed building a series of miles-high hollow convection towers along the coast of Florida to drain the energy from approaching hurricanes (and as a bonus using the towers to collect rainwater, and installing turbines to generate electricity.)
  #11  
Old 09-15-2017, 05:25 PM
bordelond bordelond is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: La Rive Ouest
Posts: 9,269
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyHomie View Post
ISTR that the Navy(?) gave it a half-assed effort in the 70's, to mixed results - but that memory is based on hazy memories of reading assignments in 11th grade Science class, and I may be way off.
Not far off at all:

Quote:
The discovery of [the eyewall replacement] process was partially responsible for the end of the U.S. government's hurricane modification experiment Project Stormfury. This project set out to seed clouds outside the eyewall, apparently causing a new eyewall to form and weakening the storm. When it was discovered that this was a natural process due to hurricane dynamics, the project was quickly abandoned
Quote:
Project Stormfury was an attempt to weaken tropical cyclones by flying aircraft into them and seeding with silver iodide. The project was run by the United States Government from 1962 to 1983.

The hypothesis was that the silver iodide would cause supercooled water in the storm to freeze, disrupting the inner structure of the hurricane. This led to the seeding of several Atlantic hurricanes. However, it was later shown that this hypothesis was incorrect. It was determined most hurricanes do not contain enough supercooled water for cloud seeding to be effective. Additionally, researchers found that unseeded hurricanes often undergo the same structural changes that were expected from seeded hurricanes. This finding called Stormfury's successes into question, as the changes reported now had a natural explanation.

The last experimental flight was flown in 1971, due to a lack of candidate storms and a changeover in NOAA's fleet. More than a decade after the last modification experiment, Project Stormfury was officially canceled. Although a failure in its goal of reducing the destructiveness of hurricanes, Project Stormfury was not without merit. The observational data and storm lifecycle research generated by Stormfury helped improve meteorologists' ability to forecast the movement and intensity of future hurricanes.
  #12  
Old 09-15-2017, 05:27 PM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: State of Jefferson
Posts: 7,602
Quote:
Originally Posted by PastTense View Post
The only weather modification I am aware of is cloud-seeding:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_seeding

Would this do anything for hurricanes?
If cloud seeding worked (and that's not been shown yet), then it would increase rainfall rates and accelerate the hurricane, making the hurricane worse ... plus we'd need dozens of commercial jets to get enough "seed" into the storm ... so unfeasible, unproven and it would do the opposite of what we want ...

Last edited by watchwolf49; 09-15-2017 at 05:28 PM.
  #13  
Old 09-15-2017, 05:38 PM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: State of Jefferson
Posts: 7,602
Quote:
Originally Posted by watchwolf49 View Post
If cloud seeding worked (and that's not been shown yet), then it would increase rainfall rates and accelerate the hurricane, making the hurricane worse ... plus we'd need dozens of commercial jets to get enough "seed" into the storm ... so unfeasible, unproven and it would do the opposite of what we want ...
Missed edit window ... I humbly withdraw my comment and defer to bordelond's wonderful addition ...
  #14  
Old 09-15-2017, 05:39 PM
XT XT is offline
Agnatheist
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: The Great South West
Posts: 32,494
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyHomie View Post
OK, but how?
Well, in theory, the two ways would be to change it's course or disrupt the storm. Practically, as Chronos said it would take orders of magnitude more energy than we currently have access to in order to do either, but I suppose if you had access to a Kardashev level 1 civilization you could create a high-pressure or low-pressure area to divert the storm or perhaps block some of the light going to the ocean in that region sufficient to suck out enough energy to kill it that way, especially if you started killing it this way when it was just forming and had the tech to block a measurable percentage of the suns energy over say, the entire South Atlantic region (hopefully you are also smart enough to understand the unintended consequences of either of these as well ). Or, maybe you could chill the ocean upper layers somehow (you'd be a K-1 civilization after all) to kill it that way. Or use unicorn farts and dragon dreams to do it I guess.
__________________
-XT

That's what happens when you let rednecks play with anti-matter!
  #15  
Old 09-15-2017, 05:42 PM
DSeid DSeid is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 19,642
Kurt Vonnegut's brother Bernard had been a scientist at GE involved in cloud seeding (determined that silver iodide worked well) and indeed one of the early experiments that emerged from the team's work was "Project Cirrus" which appeared to alter the course of a hurricane ... just not the direction they had been thinking it would go. Bernard's work was the inspiration for Ice-9 in Cat's Cradle.
Quote:
... Schaefer and Langmuir continued their work by assisting the U.S. military in advisory for Project Cirrus. This was the first large study of cloud physics and weather modification with its main goal to try to weaken hurricanes.

On October 13, 1947, an airplane dropped nearly 180 pounds of crushed dry ice into a hurricane that was heading west to east and out to sea. Though the crew reported “Pronounced modification of the cloud deck seeded,” there’s no proof to say seeding affected the storm. The hurricane changed direction and instead made landfall near Savannah, Georgia. There was public outcry, as the storm was devastating. The public blamed cloud seeding. Langmuir claimed that the reversal had been caused by human intervention. Cirrus was canceled and lawsuits were threatened. The litigation ended because of a 1906 hurricane that had taken a similar path.

This incident set back cloud seeding for more than a decade. ...
Probably it was a coincidence but here's an article on other ideas that have been thought about.
Quote:
For ocean temperatures, the magic number for hurricane formation is 26.5 degrees Celsius (or 79.7 degrees Fahrenheit). So what if you could nudge that number down early on and reduce the risks and intensities of ensuing storms?

That was what Salter set out to do.

To cool the surface of the ocean, Salter invented a wave-powered pump that would move warm surface water down to depths as far as about 650 feet.

Made from a ring of tires lashed together around a tube extending below the surface, waves would overtop the ring, pushing the column of water down, while a check valve in the tube would keep it from flowing back. ...

... Salter’s other tactic for fighting hurricanes is making clouds a tiny bit brighter using aerosols, harnessing a phenomenon called the Twomey effect.

This is the observation that for clouds containing the same amount of moisture, the clouds with smaller suspended water droplets reflect more sunlight.

The increased sunlight reflectance in the sky would keep the waters below from warming up to the hurricane threshold while also curbing evaporation, thereby reducing the atmospheric moisture needed to make a storm.

“If you really want to stop hurricanes, I believe that cloud brightening is the better way to do it,” Salter said. Cloud brightening yields a much greater impact on the weather for a much smaller perturbation than directly cooling the ocean, he explained.

Salter envisions unmanned boats spraying sub-micron-sized water droplets into the sky, seeding shinier clouds in areas forecasted to spawn storms.

This would be much cheaper than spraying aerosols from aircraft, the boats could target specific regions, the effects would dissipate quickly and the change in cloud brightness would be imperceptible to the human eye.

He estimated that it would cost $40 million to construct a prototype cloud seeding system but has not been able to find any public or private takers.

“At the moment, the governments are saying its premature, we don't need it yet,” he added. “Irma might change their minds.”

However, Salter acknowledged the prospect of cloud brightening is just an idea at this point. “Most of the work is done in computers,” he said. ...
  #16  
Old 09-15-2017, 05:59 PM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: State of Jefferson
Posts: 7,602
Perhaps send up some commercial jets full of water, then at altitude slowly release the water through the jet engines ... create a huge contrail along the equator and reflect solar energy back out into space ...
  #17  
Old 09-16-2017, 12:55 AM
Marvin the Martian Marvin the Martian is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Phoenix, AZ, USA
Posts: 673
The solution is blindingly obvious: kill all the butterflies before they get a chance to flap their wings.

Seriously, if you want to kill off a hurricane using any of the discussed methods it would be cheapest to impact them early in their formation. Maybe weather modeling will get precise enough to determine disturbances likely to cause hurricanes when they are small enough to.do something about.

However, I suspect that killing off all the hurricanes and typhoons will have some significant negative environmental impacts (unintended consequences)....


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  #18  
Old 09-16-2017, 12:48 PM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: State of Jefferson
Posts: 7,602
We don't have to model the atmosphere to see where hurricanes are likely to form ... we can observe the tropical waves progress across the Atlantic with satellite imagery ... any one of which can form a cut-off low and have a tropical cyclone develop ... whatever the "something" we do, we've only a couple of days to get it done and doing anything out in the middle of the Atlantic of this magnitude may well be impossible ... leaving doing this "something" to every tropical wave just to make sure no hurricanes form ... and tropical waves aren't the only initiator of hurricanes ...

The immediate unintended consequence is that disrupting hurricane formation will disrupt the energy transfer from the equator to the poles ... sea surface temperatures at the equator will rise and make hurricane formation more likely, and these hurricanes will be more powerful ... we risk missing getting enough "something" into place and a hurricane forms anyway and/or a profusion of subtropical storms ... the energy is going to flow by one mechanic or another ...

Last edited by watchwolf49; 09-16-2017 at 12:50 PM.
  #19  
Old 09-16-2017, 03:47 PM
SamuelA SamuelA is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 1,579
A practical solution :

Autonomous factories. How, you might ask, do autonomous factories solve the problem of hurricanes demolishing vast areas of land?

Simple. The damage, with conventional tech, requires vast amounts of on-site human labor to pay people to remove the flood damaged low quality materials in typical structures, then reinstall new materials, one piece of wood or sheetrock at a time. In addition, most buildings destroyed by wind damage were poorly made composites of plywood and nails and various other weak materials.

What we need is to replace all the destroyed structures with buildings made of tightly constructed networks of aluminum and steel, probably rated for 200 mph winds. They would be elevated or hermetically sealed to stop damage from flooding. Right now, the labor to construct such structures would make them noncompetitive, but if they were made as modules in a factory, fully autonomous, their cost could be below that of conventional construction. The modules that do fail from the next mega-storm could be removed as one piece, then taken back to the factory that made it for disassembly and recycling.
  #20  
Old 09-16-2017, 04:01 PM
glowacks glowacks is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,564
The best way to stop them at our level of technology is to prevent them from forming by doing something off the coast of West Africa that would break up any Cape Verde tropical wave that might form into a depression. The amount of effort that it might require per wave, and the number of harmless hurricanes and tropical depressions that would end up getting dissipated as well, might mean that it's not particularly cost-effective to do so compared to just making everything in the path more resistant to hurricanes or just plain leaving the coastal areas. I have no idea how much energy it would take to break up a tropical wave, only that it's far less than trying to break up a hurricane. They are still general atmospheric events, not localized like tornadoes, so it would be quite an undertaking regardless.

And there's also possibly unintended consequences to not allowing Cape Verde hurricanes to form, as they manage to move a great deal of energy from near the equator into higher latitudes. It may be that any effort to stop the normal hurricane process off Cape Verde would just create other storms forming elsewhere due to the increase in available energy at those locations since the Cape Verde ones aren't transporting energy out of the general area.
  #21  
Old 09-16-2017, 04:04 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 73,023
Speaking of which... I suppose that, on a small scale, we already do divert hurricanes, all the time. Any sufficiently-strong and sufficiently-watertight building in Houston or Florida diverted the hurricane away from the region immediately inside the walls of the building.
  #22  
Old 09-17-2017, 11:29 AM
DesertDog DesertDog is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Mesa, Ariz.
Posts: 3,342
Quote:
Originally Posted by USCDiver View Post
Use a bunch of mega fans on mega boats to introduce some wind shear.

https://www.wunderground.com/education/shear.asp
According to NOAA, just for the horizontal winds, a typical hurricane is generating the equivalent of about half the worlds' electrical generating capacity. If you take into account the whole storm system (most of which is spent in lifting up water and letting it fall) the storm is generating 200 times the world-wide electrical generating capacity.

Just how many ships to you propose in your mega-fleet and how to you propose turning those mega-fans?
  #23  
Old 09-17-2017, 11:46 AM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: State of Jefferson
Posts: 7,602
Yeah ... the factors that initiate hurricanes are the large-scale convective circulation and the Earth's rotation, over an area the size of Missouri (or larger) ... even these mega-fans will be spawning vortices and unless they're tuned perfectly to counteract cyclonic motion, the hurricanes are going to form anyway ... even the smallest of spin in a saturated atmosphere can produce a cyclone ...

Last edited by watchwolf49; 09-17-2017 at 11:48 AM.
  #24  
Old 09-17-2017, 11:49 AM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 18,220
Pumping cold water from several hundred feet below the oceans surface to the surface has been studied as a way to weaken hurricanes. Don't know if it has ever been done in practice.
__________________
Sometimes I doubt your commitment to sparkle motion
  #25  
Old 09-17-2017, 04:19 PM
USCDiver USCDiver is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: NC
Posts: 4,841
Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertDog View Post
According to NOAA, just for the horizontal winds, a typical hurricane is generating the equivalent of about half the worlds' electrical generating capacity. If you take into account the whole storm system (most of which is spent in lifting up water and letting it fall) the storm is generating 200 times the world-wide electrical generating capacity.

Just how many ships to you propose in your mega-fleet and how to you propose turning those mega-fans?
I'm not proposing anything! The OP asked "Ok but how [in theory]?" I assume in any world in which this is even remotely possible beyond theory we would have the ability to produce energy orders of magnitude more than we currently can.
  #26  
Old 09-17-2017, 04:38 PM
KlondikeGeoff KlondikeGeoff is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: High Sonoran Desert
Posts: 3,068
Quote:
Originally Posted by USCDiver View Post
Use a bunch of mega fans on mega boats to introduce some wind shear.

https://www.wunderground.com/education/shear.asp
Right. Blow those suckers back to Europe for a change.
  #27  
Old 09-17-2017, 04:47 PM
Weisshund Weisshund is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 1,623
If one was a magical godlike being, one could simply drop a mega large arctic airmass in front of it, dry the air, drop the temp, cool the water.

Hurricane would hit that and run out of energy

I'm fresh out of godlike friendly beings though.
  #28  
Old 09-18-2017, 09:17 AM
Isilder Isilder is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 4,194
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
In theory? Sure. But it would require manipulation of energies on a scale many orders of magnitude greater than what we're currently capable of.
Yes to be sure to influence it, in a definite "because we did this, we changes the hurricane".. that would take enormous energies with dramatic requirements and sideeffects..

But its not impossible in a theoretical , academic sense.. The butterfly effect .. well you know, if a butterfly flaps its wings, its redirected next years hurricane. Its not proveable that any one butterfly wing flap.. so its a bit of a very very very rare Schrodingers butterfly wing... More than 99.99999999999999999999999999 % of wing flaps have no such effect. But just as the status of schrodingers cat is not known, its not known about the status of any particular butterfly wing action wrt hurricane redirections. No one ever proposed actually controlling butterfly wing flaps, the lesson was that the chaotic patterns occur *despite* the randomness of the inputs. It might seem like white noise, but there can be patterns.

Last edited by Isilder; 09-18-2017 at 09:21 AM.
  #29  
Old 09-18-2017, 10:36 AM
Machine Elf Machine Elf is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Challenger Deep
Posts: 10,403
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wesley Clark View Post
Pumping cold water from several hundred feet below the oceans surface to the surface has been studied as a way to weaken hurricanes. Don't know if it has ever been done in practice.
The inverse of this is taking the warm surface water that energizes hurricanes and pumping it down to the depths.

http://freakonomics.com/2012/11/06/a...evention-idea/

The proposal is for large-diameter ducts suspended from the ocean surface and extending a few hundred feet straight down. Surface waves slosh warm water over the perimeter into the top end of the tube, driving water already in the tube downward. The plan would require flotillas of thousands of these things in hurricane formation areas, but they'd be completely passive, and so the cost might be tolerable. No solar cells, no pumps/motors, nothing, just natural waves to drive water into them.
  #30  
Old 09-18-2017, 11:56 AM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: State of Jefferson
Posts: 7,602
If these tubes were each 1 m2, 10,000 would only cover an area 100 m x 100 m ... the area in the Atlantic where hurricanes form is roughly 4 trillion square meters ... at a minimum we'd need 100 billion of these tubes ... at a thousand dollars each I'm not sure the cost is worth it, cheaper to rebuild the damage caused by the hurricanes ...

That's assuming this works, the warm water coming out the bottom would just rise back to the surface ... at first this would work, but eventually the heat energy would build up and make the project a wash ... or perhaps make the problem worse ...

Last edited by watchwolf49; 09-18-2017 at 11:56 AM.
  #31  
Old 09-18-2017, 12:28 PM
Machine Elf Machine Elf is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Challenger Deep
Posts: 10,403
Quote:
Originally Posted by watchwolf49 View Post
If these tubes were each 1 m2, 10,000 would only cover an area 100 m x 100 m ... the area in the Atlantic where hurricanes form is roughly 4 trillion square meters ... at a minimum we'd need 100 billion of these tubes ... at a thousand dollars each I'm not sure the cost is worth it, cheaper to rebuild the damage caused by the hurricanes ...

That's assuming this works, the warm water coming out the bottom would just rise back to the surface ... at first this would work, but eventually the heat energy would build up and make the project a wash ... or perhaps make the problem worse ...
Don't know how many tubes you'd need. You don't necessarily need to completely cover the entire hurricane nursery; you just need enough tubes to reduce the surface temperature by a meaningful amount. Each tube is pumping warm water downward non-stop, assuming perpetual wave activity. It's not just eliminating the warm water that you enclosed at its top when you assembled it, the waves cause it to continuously gather warm surface water from the area upwind of it. Presumably the more tubes you have, the greater the surface temperature drop, and the less severe/frequent the hurricanes become.

The warm water pumped to depth wouldn't simply rise back up, at least not before mixing with/entraining the cooler water that was already at that depth.
  #32  
Old 09-18-2017, 12:30 PM
tallcoldone tallcoldone is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Midland, MI
Posts: 273
How about diapers to soak up all the moisture?

OK, not diapers, but how about the superabsorbent polymer that's used in disposable diapers? It's patented!

https://www.google.com/patents/US631...idDq0Q6AEIKDAA
  #33  
Old 09-18-2017, 12:45 PM
scr4 scr4 is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Alabama
Posts: 13,941
How about releasing lots of air-filled balloons, enough to cover up a non-trivial fraction of the ocean's surface? Like the shade balls used on some reservoirs to reduce evaporation. Aluminized mylar balloons perhaps.
  #34  
Old 09-18-2017, 01:45 PM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: State of Jefferson
Posts: 7,602
Quote:
Originally Posted by Machine Elf View Post
Don't know how many tubes you'd need. You don't necessarily need to completely cover the entire hurricane nursery; you just need enough tubes to reduce the surface temperature by a meaningful amount. Each tube is pumping warm water downward non-stop, assuming perpetual wave activity. It's not just eliminating the warm water that you enclosed at its top when you assembled it, the waves cause it to continuously gather warm surface water from the area upwind of it. Presumably the more tubes you have, the greater the surface temperature drop, and the less severe/frequent the hurricanes become.

The warm water pumped to depth wouldn't simply rise back up, at least not before mixing with/entraining the cooler water that was already at that depth.
The 100 billion tubes is only covering 2.5% of the area ... we would also need perpetual big wave activity, the types of waves generated by tropical cyclones; or we'll won't be moving very much water downward ... this all depends on warm water sloshing over the top rim of the tube during times of high pressure ridging, so we need to keep this rims much closer to the water level, and thus not much water per slosh ... this would work better during low pressure troughs, but then it's too late, we need to have the water cooled down before the trough passes by, or a hurricane will spin up ...

The mixture of warm water and cold water will still be buoyant in cold water ... of course at first this will cool the surface, but eventually the entire water column's temperature will rise ... without the hurricanes to remove the heat energy from the water, it will build up until we reach the temperature threshold for hurricane development ... except now the warm water is much deeper, and this seems to increase the magnitude of the hurricanes ...

Thousands won't do a thing, looks like even millions won't either ... using billions just isn't cost effective ... and this is just the North Atlantic, add in the North and South Pacific plus the Indian Ocean; we may need trillions ...
  #35  
Old 09-18-2017, 02:00 PM
SamuelA SamuelA is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 1,579
Nobody seems to be paying attention to my eminently sensible solution, above. Let me repeat it. We're very close to having far, far better factory robots than we have now, and robots to perform deliveries. So the sensible thing to do, if hurricanes become common, is to just build new communities in better protected areas out of factory made modules. These modules could be made far stronger than most conventional construction, basically a latticework of steel tubes and 3d printed components. They would come pre-made with their own plumbing, electrical wiring, furnishings - basically ready to live in the moment they are bolted together. A new industry would also exist where cheap robotic labor means that trash doesn't have to be landfilled immediately, every scrap of usable material could be recovered by having robots sift through and sort garbage streams. This would make the raw materials all these new buildings would need cheaper.

Even relocated communities would still get hit by storms sometimes, it's not as if we can just abandon the coast, lots of jobs there. So when that happens, just have robots pick up all the rubble, load it into trucks, and recycle it all, replacing it with modular buildings. Modular buildings could be self-diagnosing...

Also, these welded aluminum buildings could be mounted on poles, with floats on the bottom, so that when floods happen, they just unplug themselves through robotic disconnects from utilities and the whole structure floats up. So the flood waters don't get inside or do any damage to the interior, and any occupants are only inconvenienced by the lack of utility access. They'd of course all have their own battery modules and solar roofs, of course, so some power would be available even when floating...

Last edited by SamuelA; 09-18-2017 at 02:03 PM.
  #36  
Old 09-18-2017, 03:29 PM
J-P L J-P L is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 599
But but but.

What about the side effects of preventing hurricanes or even altering their paths.

Hurricanes are an integral part of the weather patterns on the planet.

If mankind messes with that, could the result be worse than what we've got now.

Of course, the only way to know for sure is to try, but then, if we don't like the outcome, it's too late.
  #37  
Old 09-18-2017, 03:46 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 73,023
Quote:
Quoth Isilder:

But its not impossible in a theoretical , academic sense.. The butterfly effect .. well you know, if a butterfly flaps its wings, its redirected next years hurricane. Its not proveable that any one butterfly wing flap.. so its a bit of a very very very rare Schrodingers butterfly wing... More than 99.99999999999999999999999999 % of wing flaps have no such effect.
First of all, there aren't enough butterflies in the world to be able to put that many nines on any percentage of butterflies.

But second of all, that's exactly backwards. Every butterfly affects the weather. A flap can turn conditions that wouldn't be a hurricane into a hurricane, or it can turn conditions that would be a hurricane into no hurricane. And to even have a hope of determining which one would take effect, you'd have to have knowledge of every butterfly throughout the world. And, of course, complete knowledge of everything else that moves as much air as a butterfly's wings, which includes (for instance) people talking. So in order to use the butterfly effect to control weather, you'd have to first control all people in the world.

Lots of luck with that.
  #38  
Old 09-18-2017, 04:56 PM
XT XT is offline
Agnatheist
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: The Great South West
Posts: 32,494
Quote:
Originally Posted by scr4 View Post
How about releasing lots of air-filled balloons, enough to cover up a non-trivial fraction of the ocean's surface? Like the shade balls used on some reservoirs to reduce evaporation. Aluminized mylar balloons perhaps.
You'd be better off with a solar sun shade I think...easier to control. I figure that, eventually, humans will be able to do stuff like that and create such structures to control the weather on the planet and mitigate global warming (or, perhaps, mitigate future ice ages by reflecting more light where we want it or need it). Probably not anytime in the near future though.
__________________
-XT

That's what happens when you let rednecks play with anti-matter!

Last edited by XT; 09-18-2017 at 04:57 PM.
  #39  
Old 09-19-2017, 12:28 PM
Lightnin' Lightnin' is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Apple Core
Posts: 7,176
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren Garrison View Post
I remember a non-fiction piece from a SF magazine (googling shows it to be Defeating the Son of Andrew by Leon O. Billig in the February 1994 issue of Analog, but no text of the article available) that proposed building a series of miles-high hollow convection towers along the coast of Florida to drain the energy from approaching hurricanes (and as a bonus using the towers to collect rainwater, and installing turbines to generate electricity.)
I remember that issue. If it'd work, this sounds like the most feasible- plus the added benefit of generating basically "free" electricity.

I'd love to see a small-scale test here in Salt Lake City, to break the thermal inversion bubble that gives us such bad air quality in the winter. But boy, can you imagine the howls of "NIMBY!" we'd be hearing when someone proposes the idea of putting a huge tower right in the middle of the valley?
__________________
What's the good of Science if nobody gets hurt?
  #40  
Old 09-19-2017, 04:12 PM
Folacin Folacin is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: North of the River
Posts: 2,529
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pantastic View Post
Most of the realistic proposals involve changing the hurricane's path, since it's possible to manipulate pressure and humidity in a broad area. One of the political issues with modifying a hurricane is liability; if you divert the hurricane and it does damage where you divert it to, are you responsible for the damage? If the US diverts a hurricane into Mexico, is that an act of war by the US against Mexico? There's a whole largely untouched field of law that would need to be sorted out before anyone would want to do something like this in the real world.
I remember a sci-fi story I read as a kid that had a government agency that was just implementing weather control. They decided to move a hurricane, and I remember that one of the side-effects was the creation of an early freeze in the Midwest as they worked on shoving the hurricane out to sea.
  #41  
Old 09-19-2017, 05:55 PM
scr4 scr4 is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Alabama
Posts: 13,941
Quote:
Originally Posted by XT View Post
You'd be better off with a solar sun shade I think...easier to control.
The only stable place for a space sun shade is the L1 Lagrange point, and that's too far. At that distance, the penumbral shadow covers the whole Earth. So it reduces sunlight to all parts of the Earth at the same rate. There's no way to cool down a specific part of the ocean.
  #42  
Old 09-19-2017, 08:17 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 73,023
You could also have a set of lower-orbiting sunshades, and make them louvered. When it's over the area to be cooled, you close the blinds, and when it's over some other area, you open them.

Or put it in a geosynchronous orbit, so it always stays over the ocean you want to cool. It won't always be between the Earth and the Sun, but when it isn't, it's nighttime anyway, so it doesn't matter.
  #43  
Old 09-20-2017, 11:16 AM
scr4 scr4 is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Alabama
Posts: 13,941
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Or put it in a geosynchronous orbit, so it always stays over the ocean you want to cool. It won't always be between the Earth and the Sun, but when it isn't, it's nighttime anyway, so it doesn't matter.
This would only block the sun for a few seconds at noon.
  #44  
Old 09-20-2017, 11:27 AM
Gyrate Gyrate is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Deepest South London
Posts: 20,105
Because this thread needs this for completeness: The NOAA's page on the use of nuclear weapons to dispel hurricanes. The whole thing can be summed up in one particular sentence:
Quote:
Originally Posted by NOAA
Needless to say, this is not a good idea.
I suppose an alternative would be to relocate a large number of homosexuals to Bermuda. I'm told they attract hurricanes, therefore a sufficiently high concentration should divert any such storms away from the East Coast.
__________________
"Don't delude yourself into thinking we're interested in you. We're just here for the trainwreck, man." - DooWahDiddy

Last edited by Gyrate; 09-20-2017 at 11:30 AM.
  #45  
Old 09-20-2017, 11:29 AM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: State of Jefferson
Posts: 7,602
I think Chronos is implying a baffle 2,000 km x 12,000 km ... something that could block the sun for a half day or so ... we could use all the fake moon rocks we already have in LEO ...

Last edited by watchwolf49; 09-20-2017 at 11:29 AM.
  #46  
Old 09-26-2017, 09:02 AM
Haldurson Haldurson is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 133
Back in the 1970's and early 80's, when I was studying environmental science, there were some half-baked ideas floating around to do a variety of things about our environment -- fortunately, better minds prevailed regarding most of them. stopping hurricanes may be one of the worst of them (but yeah, this idea does go back a ways). The problem is that hurricanes are one of the larger mechanisms for transporting heat from equatorial climes towards the cooler northern latitudes. One major worry that existed, that kind of killed the idea is that if you interfere that natural flow of energy, you are going to end up with an even greater temperature gradient, which could result in even bigger storms in the long run and other unforeseeable consequences. It's kind of like what happened with the US forestry service -- they went out and interfered with the natural seasonal brush fires, which allowed brush to overgrow, our forests, which lead to the small seasonal brushfires being replaced by huge conflagrations.
  #47  
Old 10-27-2017, 10:31 AM
HeyHomie HeyHomie is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Viburnum, MO
Posts: 9,157
This question was picked up for a column by Cecil!
__________________
If you see "Sent from my phone blah blah blah" in my post, please understand that this is automatic when I post from my phone, and I don't know how to disable it. Sorry.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:38 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017