The Phoenix

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Tame The Wild Hurricane

With the recent devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the question has popped up again...Do we have the technology to stop a hurricane?

Scientists have been trying to devise a method of doing just that for the last 50 years, with mostly negative results. So can we stop Mother Nature's wrath? Nope.

Here are the very ingenious attempts or theories of trying to halt a hurricane:

In 1958, The Naval Research Lab tried several experiments that involved seeding storm clouds with soot. The thought here was to "seed" the clouds inside a hurricane in an effort to break up it's structure. Honk, thanks for playing.

In 1973, Hurricane expert William Gray said that maybe you could trigger smaller storms with soot. I'm guessing that these storms would suck all the atmospheric energy and deprive a tropical storm of hurricane energy. Nothing ever came of that theory. Enough with the soot! Maybe kitty litter would work, though...hmm.

Another idea was maybe coating the surface of the ocean with olive oil. The oil would disrupt the energy flow of an incoming hurricane. MIT scientists believe the high winds of a hurricane would pretty much make the oil ineffective - it would just blow the oil all away. But it would prepare the fish for a tasty yet healthy meal.

Just this past spring, Moshe Alamaro of MIT came up with a technique of using a bunch of floating jet engines to create mini-cyclones in the water ahead of an approaching hurricane. This would also deplete the energy in the atmosphere. But alas, critics said that using an array of jet engines wouldn't be enough to even create the smallest of cyclones. Oh well.

In Jacksonville, FL, some crackpot thought that the use of a small nuclear weapon could disrupt a hurricane. Yeah, that's a great idea. Now you could create a radioactive hurricane. Or better yet, kill a bunch of people and marine animals. Who was this person? The Beavis and Butthead of science and meteorology?

So is science hopeless in the battle to tame hurricanes? Not entirely.

Nothing like good 'ol Capitalism to get the creative juices flowing...A company called Dyn-O-Mat might have a solution. Peter Cordani, CEO of the company, believes their invention could work. Dyn-O-Mat manufactures a super absorbent material mostly used for industrial clean up and safety.

The idea here is to load up a large cargo plane with this Dyn-O-Mat stuff, fly towards the storm, release the absorbent material, and thus sucking the moisture from the hurricane and greatly weakening it. Cordani claims to have eradicated a thunderstorm off Palm Beach.

A thunderstorm is one thing, but a hurricane is another.

Still, I think it's worth a shot. Even if it doesn't work, the super absorbent stuff would work well cleaning up barf in the elementary schools.

I don't think the other suggestions given to the International Hurricane Center at Flordia International University are going to be very effective. The other ideas include: towing an iceberg to cool the water temperature, building massive fans to blow the hurricane away (and send it to South America?), and pray hurricanes away.

How absurd!

Actually, if I saw one of these coming towards me, I would do a whole lotta praying.


Anonymous Goblin said...

I guess, if you took 1904 monkeys and had them blowing all at once in the same direction - they would be about as much good as these scientists.

The fun thing about science is that most of the really neat stuff was created by accident... so, much for theory. (That's why I think I'm going to be rich someday... with all these accidents happening around me...

9/28/2005 3:25 AM  
Blogger DLAK said...

Great post holmes, radioactive hurricane would be a good name for a band.

9/28/2005 8:56 AM  
Blogger Kay said...

This is a really interesting post -I almost moved to South Carolina this summer, but looked back some old physical science books from grad school and decided "Maybe not." Of course, St. Louis can flood big-time and we're sitting on a potential earthquake, so is there anything interesting going on to prevent those catastrophes? Maybe I should go back to Kansas... there's no arguing with a tornado.

9/28/2005 9:03 AM  
Blogger fin said...

I always liked the idea of dropping a bomb inside a cane. Now that's a smart idea...duh.

9/28/2005 2:40 PM  
Anonymous the weirdgirl said...

Crap. You just know the next disaster movie is going to be about a hurricane, trying to move it, and the disastrous effects, so on and so forth.

How about people just not build houses in places where hurricanes consistently hit? That would be a lot cheaper and it wouldn't tie up our TOP SCIENTISTS. ahem

9/28/2005 3:58 PM  
Blogger KC said...

I like your kitty litter idea. Maybe. OK. Maybe not because now I'm worried that if it didn't work, it would be hell to have all that stinging kitty litter hurled at your body at 100 mph.

9/28/2005 3:58 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

There really is NO place truly safe from natural disasters. You leave the Gulf for the Midwest and you got tornadoes. You go out West and you got earthquakes. Try the Northeasat and you've got blizzards and some really huge faults like underground.
So, I guess pick your poison.
I like globin's idea...maybe we should use monkeys. I don't know how, but I just like saying "monkeys."

9/28/2005 5:34 PM  
Blogger Raj said...

A nuclear weapon to stop a hurricane is not a bad idea. After all Homer Simpson is one of our foremost scientists.

9/29/2005 1:57 AM  
Anonymous james said...

Hurricanes are naturally occuring weather features. Surely we should be trying to protect against the effects rather than trying to stop nature..?

9/29/2005 8:33 AM  
Anonymous SciVille said...

Stop a hurricane?! Wow. In the effort and expense it would take the try that, may as well just work on building up better damage control and stronger structures. Meh. Just a thought.

9/30/2005 4:17 PM  
Blogger thebluestbutterfly said...

I have never seen a picture of a hurricane before...that one was pretty scary.

I think that we really should worry more about prevention during natural disasters. I have lived in a lot of cities where precautions that could be taken are not because it would ruin the aesthetics of the venues and draw less tourists....the repairs every single year are just outrageous and done on the taxpayer dollar. Some people are financially able to move from such areas yet they just sit and apply for disaster relief each time it happens...I think this kind of behavior is a sort of welfare fraud.

10/01/2005 2:42 PM  

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Established 2005...

Welcome to the blog that aims to examine the lighter side of science. From the paranormal to wacky inventions, to strange mysteries and goofy experiments, I cover it all. Thanks for stoping by science is always stranger than fiction


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