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Offline Supercryptid

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Here comes a hypothetical question...
« on: 12/08/2005 21:52:37 »
Nature's power vs. man's power:

Say you have a tornado, ranked as F5 on the Fujita scale (318 mph winds), with a funnel diameter equal to 1 mile. This tornado travels towards a nuclear testing facility. At this facility, there is a nuclear device sitting in the middle of a nearby desert, whose energy is rated at 50 megatons (equal to the yield of Tsar Bomba, the largest bomb detonated by mankind). The F5 tornado passes directly over this device, and just as it is sitting right on top of it, the device detonates, creating a gigantic explosion. Does this nuclear explosion destroy the tornado?

I have read that a tornado with a windspeed of merely 200 mph produces 1 billion watts, so you might imagine a funnel with 318 mph winds producing much more power. One might be able to calculate the total kinetic energy of the funnel if they were to consider it to be a cylinder 1 mile wide and 10 miles high (if you consider that the majority of the tornado is hidden within the cloud) composed of air that is moving at the rotating edge with a speed of 318 mph. I don't have the exact figures with me.

Tsar Bomba was detonated at only a 50% yield, producing 50 megatons. Even at half-power, the blast produced 209 quadrillion joules of energy, and generated a mushroom cloud that ascended to 210,000 feet. This hypothetical bomb is equal to Tsar Bomba's half-power.

Is the tornado too powerful to be destroyed by the bomb, or is it easily annihilated? The thunderstorm that produced the tornado could generate as much as 40 trillion watts, which might help stabilize the tornado or produce new ones if the original is destroyed. My personal belief is that the tornado would be destroyed, but it's possible that I'm not considering all the variables, as the atmosphere is a large and complex entity.

I've read that a nuclear bomb stands no chance of destroying a hurricane, by comparison.


 

Offline simeonie

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Re: Here comes a hypothetical question...
« Reply #1 on: 12/08/2005 22:30:33 »
I thought that the source of a tornado was in the clouds or sky or whatever. And the main punch of the bombs blast is on the ground  so I really can't see it destroying the tornado.

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Offline tweener

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Re: Here comes a hypothetical question...
« Reply #2 on: 13/08/2005 07:12:06 »
You quote enery numbers, but one variable they don't consider is the time involved in producting the energy.  The thunderstorm and tornado contain a lot of energy but it is spread out over a long time period.  The detonation of a large thermonuclear device would release a huge amount of energy (though possibly not as much as the storm) in a very short period of time.  The detonation of the bomb would basically suck in all the air, including water droplets, for several miles around, change the energy content, and send them upwards into the mushroom.  Without doing any calculations (or even knowing how to approach starting them), I would say that the bomb would completely eradicate the tornado, leaving no trace.  And, it would probably take most of the thunderstorm too, though there might be some extra cloud cover around the mushroom cloud.



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Offline simeonie

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Re: Here comes a hypothetical question...
« Reply #3 on: 13/08/2005 10:48:19 »
I really can't understand how that would work thought. Because I thought that the tornado comes fromm up in the clouds or the sky.

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Offline gsmollin

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Re: Here comes a hypothetical question...
« Reply #4 on: 13/08/2005 18:16:13 »
There isn't a simple answer to this question. Speculatively, the bomb would destroy the tornado, and I don't think a 50 megaton device is needed. Tornados are very unstable, and even an F5 can disappear for no apparent reason.



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The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: Here comes a hypothetical question...
« Reply #4 on: 13/08/2005 18:16:13 »

 

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