The NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association) experts have thrown “cold water” on hurricane control schemes. Including the schemes actually using cold water. This article will take a look at the “Proverbial Pipe Dream” of Hurricane Control and propose a practical solution. At present there a variety of various hurricane control proposals.
Hurricane control in the current context really means to weaken the hurricane force winds. The destructive damage a hurricane inflicts is proportional to the square of the wind speed. Hurricanes are windstorms in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific. In the Western North Pacific and the Philippines the windstorms are called Typhoons. Cyclones are windstorms in the Indian and South Pacific Ocean. When the ocean temperature is about 80 degrees F (26 C) or higher a hurricane can occur. The hurricanes operate by drawing warm ocean air up through the eye of the hurricane. This is a convection process with hot air which is less dense rising. Current hurricane control methods try to disrupt this convection process.
First lets look at “cloud seeding”. Cloud seeding is done to increase precipitation by introducing small particles of various chemicals into the air from the ground or by air. These particles are introduced into the eyewall of the hurricane to disrupt the upward flow of moist air. Another method proposed is to cool the waters of the ocean where hurricanes are likely to develop with long vertical tubes. These wave actuated pumps would bring warm surface water to the bottom and force cool water up. Again this would disrupt the convection process. Giant sized fans have even been proposed to blow the hurricane back into the Atlantic ocean. Animated “cartoon like” procedures, even though well meaning, don’t work for the following reasons. The enormous size and power of a hurricane make these type of schemes unlikely to work. Information from the NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meterological Laboratory gives some insight into the power of a hurricane.
An example is Hurricane Andrew which hit South Florida in 1992. The area of destruction was 20 miles wide. The heat energy in this hurricane eye was “5000 times” the heat and electrical power generation of the Turkey Point nuclear power plant over which the eye past. The kinetic energy of the wind at any instant was comparable to that released by a nuclear warhead. A realistic hurricane control system would have to be ready to go into operation within 1 day. Only about 10% of the tropical systems that form develop into hurricanes. Trying to attack them early would be a wasted effort. The hurricane control system should be able to be put into operation when the hurricane is at least a category 1 and is heading toward a populated area.
I am proposing a modification of a fairly popular and tested method of decreasing a hurricanes destructive power. The method I am referring to is Space Solar Power. Solar panels in earth orbit can convert solar energy into a microwave beam. This microwave beam can then be aimed at a hurricane eyewall to heat it and interfere with the hurricanes convection process. A government project called HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) has demonstrated that microwave energy can be directed at the ionosphere and heat it.
Space solar power projects to control hurricanes involve launching a satellite into orbit. Until this method is fully proven. A more economical approach would be to save the cost of the launch and the satellite and mount the microwave equipment on a ship. The microwave ionospheric heaters could be powered by off the shelf electric car batteries and the ship could re-charge when in port. This ship could be under the supervision of a state government and called into service by the governor of a potentially affected state. The ship could stay back from the hurricane eyewall and aim its microwave antennas at a 45 degree or lesser angle. This ship could be called into action within 4 hours notice. If this plan works another ship can be built and sold to another state or foreign country for a profit.
Current weather trends make this plan more likely to be effective. An NOAA research study has found that Global Warming has made hurricanes worldwide move slower and stay over of populated areas longer. There by causing more damage and increasing the chances for flooding in the area the hurricane is hovering over. Some thing should be done to at least try to minimize the impact of hurricanes.