Skip to comments.Can You Stop a Hurricane by Nuking It?
Posted on 10/30/2012 11:11:40 AM PDT by DogByte6RER
Can You Stop a Hurricane by Nuking It?
To save lives and reduce costs, there would be tremendous advantage if science had a way to stop a devastating hurricane like Sandy. And scientists have thought of it before.
One idea that rears its head almost every hurricane season recently is the notion of bombing a hurricane into submission. The theory goes that the energy released by a nuclear bomb detonated just above and ahead of the eye of a storm would heat the cooler air there, disrupting the storm's convection current.
Unfortunately, this idea, which has been around in some form since the 1960s, wouldn't work.
Chris Landsea, science and operations officer at the National Hurricane Center, posted an explanation when he was a research meteorologist with NOAA.
"The main difficulty with using explosives to modify hurricanes is the amount of energy required," Landsea wrote.
A hurricane gets its energy from warm ocean water, and in the process of water vapor condensing into rain droplets. The heat released during condensation serves to continue to warm the surrounding air, which causes more seawater to evaporate, condense, and continue the cycle.
A fully developed hurricane releases 50 or more terawatts of heat energy at any given moment, only about 1 percent of which is converted into wind. The heat release, Landsea wrote, "is equivalent to a 10-megaton nuclear bomb exploding every 20 minutes." The entire human race in 2011 used about a third of the energy present in an average hurricane.
So bombing a hurricane might be about as effective as trying to stop a speeding Buick with a feather.
(Excerpt) Read more at livescience.com ...
On the flip side ... could you stop a nuclear detonation by hurricaning it?
Godspeed to all of the East Coasties dealing with Sandy.
Then you end up with “Radioactive Superstorm Sandy.”
The HUGE!!! downside to successfully pulling this off... I’d have had to go to work yesterday and today!
I'm not sure, but the next time one is over Washington, DC, let's give it a try.
Excellent idea. Nuke it, and then we can all get showered with nice jet-streamed plutonium particles far and wide.
What a stupid idea.Detonate a nuclear device in the atmosphere and contaminate all of the water vapor with strontium 90 and othe radioactive waste.
They may stop a hurricane but they will surely kill or sicken a large part of the people they were trying to protect.
You can render a hurricane bankrupt and ineffectual by placing it under the management of the US Federal government - especially if the committee is run by Democrats.
To affect a hurricane one would have to drop something as dense as a black hole into it, like Megan McCain.
If Urine were as flammable as gasoline, would you argue that pissing on a fire would put it out?
Consider the consequences of a nuke failing to stop a hurricane on a landfall course... and then lets talk about “acid rain”.
Cloud seeding would probably work better.
Duct-tape Algore to a rocket and shot him into the eye. It’ll probably work just as well and will actually help the environment instead.
To believe man can have any effect on God sized events is just stupid on the face of it. It shows how arrogant we have become.
I know,.....lets sentence some scientists to jail for not predicting earthquakes correctly. Oh yeah, we just did that.
Take a look at the satellite photos of Hurricane Sandy or Katrina. Even a 50MT nuclear warhead detonation (only the Soviets ever had one run away to that size) would look like a tiny clump of pixels in the middle of a hurricane whorl that stretches from Florida to New York.
Moreover, nuke size hardly makes a difference. The largest US-made nukes ran away to about 15MT, and it's been proven by physicists like J. Carson Mark in the Operation Ivy (Mark) tests that anything above 3MT only temporarily lifts the Earth's atmosphere higher into space by a slight bump without adding any significant destructive power or area of effect. I don't think that the US arsenal has anything over ~1.2MT warheads since SALT eliminated the ridiculous megatonnage nukes of the '60s.
In short, America's biggest current nuclear warhead used against a hurricane would be like trying to stop your outdoor lawn sprinklers by standing in the middle of the lawn while lighting a book of matches. The biggest US nukes of the '60s would be like doing the same futile exercise only using a highway road flare.
Hurricanes help regulate the climate. Leave them alone and learn how to deal with them better. I don’t think we should be trying to stop natural occurrences.
Tsar Bomba. The fireball was five miles in diameter
Please don’t make this personal.
Just because I posted this thread doesn’t mean that I would ever support nuking a hurricane. The article also reminded me of the planned “Atoms for Peace” program of the 1950s ... the idea was to use nukes to carve out canals in land bridges.
I merely found the article and the idea interesting and I looked forward to reading some FReeper feedback.
The article further mentions the futility of of such an idea ... a nuke carries a very very small percentage of the energy existing within a hurricane. To quote the article:
“So bombing a hurricane might be about as effective as trying to stop a speeding Buick with a feather.”
we stopped the wind ... hope you don’t mind all the irradiated rain
Yea, I can see how sending radio active material into the water supply and air would save lives.
“A 1953 study found that the average thunderstorm over several hours expends enough energy to equal 50 A-bombs of the type that was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan during World War Two.”
“An “average” thunderstorm releases about as much energy in an hour as a 20-kiloton atomic bomb generates instantly.”
We thought that stopping forest fires was a good thing. It resulted on deadwood accumulating until a fire started which was too big to put out.
Hurricanes dump excess ocean heat into the upper atmosphere where it can dissipate. Stop enough hurricanes and the ocean will warm until super -hurricanes form.
That’s like shooting an elephant with a spitwad.
“To affect a hurricane one would have to drop something as dense as a black hole into it, like Megan McCain.”
>>> Please dont make this personal.
When you post an article, people are going to respond to the title just like I did. Don’t take it personal just because your post is the first opportunity responders have to click on the “reply” button.
Yeah.. I thought it was interesting too. that’s why I read your post and responded to the idea... not you.
I could just see the look on the scientists faces after the nuke goes off and the hurricane keeps coming.