Governments Will One Day Be Able To Order Strikes Against Hurricanes

The United States is in the middle of hurricane season. Isaac hit the country's south last week, inundating acres of land, wrecking homes, and disrupting oil and gas production. It's a stark reminder of the Katrina disaster and yet another warning of catastrophes to come.

Now, imagine if the President of the United States had the weapons to order a strike against the destructive forces that can dramatically affect millions of citizens everywhere. Scientists say that this will be possible soon — using drones.

Researchers at the University of Leeds have discovered a way to lower the intensity of hurricanes by using a new technique that takes out the energy this meteorological phenomenon needs to feed itself. According to Dr Alan Gadian from the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds:

Hurricanes derive their energy from the heat contained in the surface waters of the ocean. If we are able to increase the amount of sunlight reflected by clouds above the hurricane development region then there will be less energy to feed the hurricanes.

Their technique, created after a climate ocean atmosphere coupling model called HadGEM1, is called Marine Cloud Brightening. It will use drones to "spray tiny seawater droplets, a good fraction of which would rise into the clouds above [the hurricane]". These clouds will take the power away from the hurricane, bouncing sunlight back to space and reducing the sea surface temperature.

According to the researchers' calculations, this technique would reduce the violence of the hurricane by a category. This is a phenomenal change that can basically transform potential disasters into more manageable storms:

Data shows that over the last three decades hurricane intensity has increased in the Northern Atlantic, the Indian and South-West Pacific Oceans. We simulated the impact of seeding on these three areas, with particular focus on the Atlantic hurricane months of August, September and October.

Of course, climate being an extremely complex model, Marine Cloud Brightening can have ramifications. One could be affecting rainfall in neighbouring regions, like a reduction of rain in the Amazon basin. The team says that they can control this by careful seeding, but they will not start testing it until they are 100-percent sure that it is completely safe. That said, however, they believe they are on the right track:

Much more research is needed and we are clear that cloud seeding should not be deployed until we are sure there will be no adverse consequences regarding rainfall. However if our calculations are correct, judicious seeding of maritime clouds could be invaluable for significantly reducing the destructive power of future hurricanes.

We can only hope this is the case.

[Atmospheric Science Letters via University of Leeds via CBS Local]


Comments

    Maybe I'm completely missing the point, but wouldn't flying an aircraft into a hurricane be a bit dangerous?

      US researches fly into hurricanes already and have been doing so for nearly 40 years, not that dangerous if the pilot is trained and is in the correct aircraft, but from the videos I've seen its not a very fun flight

    How can they ever be 100% sure? They can't. They try it out and if they succeed they'll hail themselves as heroes. If they, more likely, fail dramatically they'll say that their models need just a bit more data.

      It's obviously a great business to be in! ;)

    Dangerous for Drones? This could be how the war will start.

    Computers will rise up as they don't like being flown into hurricanes......

      The Drone Wars. Begun they have...

        How long before they learn how to direct the hurricanes at their enemies?

          Cyclones and hurricanes will follow warm water so all you need to do is warm up the water to where you want it to go.. and cool down where you don't want it to go.

    Hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons are an integral component of the environmental regeneration (think bushfires in Australia) in tropical regions.

      until blows your house away

    Good idea, but it would seem you would need to "seed" the area ahead of the storms path, the article above doesn't mention where the seeding takes place, but logically you would assume they would need to cool the waters ahead of the storm, and likely by making a cooler body of water ahead of the storm, they would probably influence the storms trajectory, but I doubt this would actually make the hurricanes/cyclones "less" powerful over all.

      Yeah I doubt they know what they are doing..

      Probably why you're not in charge of the research...
      Maybe let the scientists determine whether the weather is affected or whether the weather is not.

    Newsflash! They already can... and have been using aluminum oxide and other oxides for quite some time in order to manipulate the weather, including storms...
    If you dont believe me then google it... there are hundreds of sources that prove it. It has just been classified military technology for so long that the mainstream media hasnt been allowed to talk about it until recently.
    They effectively release the aluminum oxide into the air in front of the storms and as it oxidises it gives off a large amount of heat, creating a low and essentially, the storm just follows that low...
    China has used similar technology to increase rainfall and snowfall ammounts in order to ensure crop output... They over did it a few years ago and created a massive blizzard that created a week long traffic jam and caused snow to fall in places it had never fallen before...

    By the end of the 21st century the major governments of the world (and some large coorperations such as monsanto) will be able to easily manipulate the weather in any way they choose... worldwide...

      The majority of humans would never believe such a thing because they don't understand the level of technology that is out there. What's terrifying is that this has probably been used in times of war and conflicts, imagine if they used this to create a massive flood in the middle east, or create droughts to weaken their economy. I hate to say it.... but I believe this has been in use for decades as a weapon.

        People will really go wild if they find out about the earthquake machines: "where is your God now" isn't a rhetorical question anymore. God is whoever unleashes Acts of God.

      "release the aluminum oxide into the air in front of the storms and as it oxidises it gives off a large amount of heat,"

      The oxide is oxidised? Or the oxide oxidises other chemicals?
      Dubious either way. The latter would solve the problem of electricity use in aluminium production.

    Sure. Global warming this and that, but it's ok to purposefully mess with the Earth's weather.....

    Is a pre-emptive strike ever really justified...?

    Don't mess with the weather, just don't. It's a bad idea.

    What if they coloured the *seeding*? For example they could then sell rights to earn money to research;

    Make the colour Coke Red - "This Hurricane was averted by Coke a cola" - natures advertising in the new decade!

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