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Author Topic: Controling severe weather question?  (Read 4544 times)

Offline Francois Bruneau

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Controling severe weather question?
« on: 23/09/2005 00:21:51 »
Does any one know of studies done about stopping / dispersing a Hurricane. I have heard of "Salting" a storm to weaken it but could it be to put it crudly "blown Up" like an oil well fire. Or what forces would it take to disperse a large storm? This is not to say I would be for Nuking it this is just theoretical. Though the practical application to control our own weather is milenium old  in the now or near future do we have the thecnoligy to do it. The potential savings on lives and infrastracture would, it seem warant a solid review of the posibility to disperse a large storm like Katrina or Rita.
Having the knowlige that global warming may be the cause but a discusion that would lead to a I told you so or this only proves that this or that policy is leading us to these catastrofic storms is pointless and counter productive.
I think we have the oportunity  and should be our duty to advance our knowlige about controling our own envirement.
I would welcome comments
Francois


Do it right the first time.


 

Offline David Sparkman

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Re: Controling severe weather question?
« Reply #1 on: 23/09/2005 04:30:40 »
Well a nuke would be counter productive as the storm gathers it's energy from warm water, so lets not heat the water more.

Remember weather is just nature's way of smoothing out temperature differences. I guess if we could nuke the moon out of existance, that might help.

Practically, you might be able to stear or direct the storm away from shore, and a lot of little storms might also be a way to go if you could figure out 1) how to do it, and 2) how to keep from being lynched for doing it.

David
 

Offline daveshorts

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Re: Controling severe weather question?
« Reply #2 on: 23/09/2005 13:39:25 »
I jsut heard on the radio yesterday that they did some trials in the 50's about doing this but the government ran away very fast as they may be liable to the people who they drove the hurricane into. I think that more research into it has just been authourised though...

There are some people who recon that the hurricane is a chaotic system so if you know the right place to push gently you can alter its behaviour significantly.
 

Offline David Sparkman

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Re: Controling severe weather question?
« Reply #3 on: 23/09/2005 14:20:06 »
Not sure how chaotic it's overall movement is. In general a Strong hurricane steers due west straight into the prevaling winds (due east). In realitiy the prevaling winds vary in both strength and direction, but are generally easterly in that area. So it is a strength contest between normal wind patterns and the contra wind pattern of the hurricane.

Since the hurricane gains and looses strength over it's life, and the prevaling winds vary with the location of low and high pressure cells and the jet stream, the path it takes is very complex to calculate.

David
 

Offline daveshorts

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Re: Controling severe weather question?
« Reply #4 on: 24/09/2005 09:01:27 »
As the path is difficult to calculate it may well be indicative that it is quite chaotic ;)
 

Offline VAlibrarian

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Re: Controling severe weather question?
« Reply #5 on: 28/09/2005 02:06:08 »
My reply is why solve the problem the hard way.
better to
-stop building floodable structures within one mile of a coastline on the gulf coast
-actively address the global warming issue in the likely case that 3 more degrees of average air temperature will increase the frequency of hurricanes in the next century

Why is our first impulse to dominate and domesticate nature as if it were a chicken or a puppy? I could easily list a dozen examples of human interference in natural processes which made them worse. With due respect to your interest in saving human lives, WE are the main problem, not the hurricanes.


chris wiegard
 

Offline escudo

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Re: Controling severe weather question?
« Reply #6 on: 28/09/2005 11:18:01 »
Building non-essential structures in locations that have a KNOWN HIGH risk of future catastrophic damage (hurricanes, earthquake, etc) is unjustifiable. It is economically unsustainable over time, and needlessly places lives at certain risk. Building and re-building densely populated cities in such areas could be considered short-sighted and irresponsible.

Hurricane severity through the decades has gone through cycles of low-high frequency and low-high severity. There is a history of major hurricanes striking much of the southeast and southern US coastline. It is not if but when additional category 4&5 hurricanes strike New Orleans (and other locations) again, and again, and again. The same is true for Miami, Houston, Galveston, etc. Most of New Orleans is even built BELOW sea level, and regardless of how good your pump technology is, regardless of how well you plan, with that many people involved things are too unpredictable to guarantee the safety of the populace and the integrity of the infrastructure.

In addition, a major hurricane is only a SINGLE catastrophic event. Consider the impact if it is coupled with an coincidental outbreak of major solar flares: disrupting communications and electricity nationwide. People might be unable to evacuate. It may be next to impossible to even let them know it's coming. Post-disaster relief efforts would be severely compromised and the death toll would be incredible. Do ANY disaster plans consider more than one catastrophic event at a time? I doubt it. Solar flare activity has been setting records in the past year. This abnormal activity has been occurring during a time when solar activity is normally at a low in its approximately 11 year cycle.

However, the global warming hypothesis is not attributable solely to man. Geologic, solar/meteorlogical forces can play a huge portion in changing the earth's climate. Just look to the past for cycles ice ages and periods of global warming. Compared to man's efforts, methane hydrates and vulcanism push nearly inconceivable amounts of CO2, particulates, and other chemicals and aerosols into the lower and high atmosphere. A single major eruption affects weather nearly worldwide for years. The overall long-term environmental impact can be substantial. Methane hydrate release and vulcanism are ongoing and relentless geologic processes.

Much of the earth's weather is dominated by ocean temperatures. These are changing not only due to emissions(natural or otherwise) in the atmosphere, but heat sources and thermal differentials beneath the surface. The heat engines and thermal distribution throughout the ocean appear to be changing radically, which affects major ocean currents, which affects weather systems. There may even be undesirable positive feedback in these systems. Even changes in ocean salinity seem to drastically affect these currents, and fundamentally alter the way these massive oceanic weather heat pumps and distribution systems function. We're only now beginning to understand just how big a part that plays in weather variations.

As for ‘steering’ or controlling hurricanes, there was indeed a period of testing conducted some decades ago. It proved ineffective using the available technologies. (mostly cloud-seeding specific zones attempting to deprive the hurricane of some of its energy). It appears, however, that to alter a hurricane, one would have to cool the underlying ocean temperature on a massive scale. A scale humans could not manage at this time. Even if we could, the after-effects would likely be chaotic and unpredictable.
 

Offline escudo

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Re: Controling severe weather question?
« Reply #7 on: 28/09/2005 12:08:35 »
Given the underlying information in my above post, it's an opinion that attempting to control earth's weather has some very real dangers associated with it.  As a scientist, I'm all for studying and understanding how earth's weather systems operate, and even developing theoretical models in how to control it, but unless mankind's very survival as a species is at stake, I believe the risks inherent in 'playing' with energies on that scale are at present much too high. Efforts to modify large scale weather systems in an attempt to 'save' one place on the planet, could have devastating effects on other regions.

Some people believe mankind is causing massive climatological change by indirect means such as emissions of certain gasses. Imagine the potentially far greater impact on earth's weather if humans  intentionally and specifically manipulate the massive energies involved.

We do not understand all that much about scalar weather on a global scale. How it works. Why it works the way it does. Even the latest super computers working massively paralleled, while capable of general trend development models for several months ahead, and fairly reliable forecasts for up to 10 days, are incapable of producing models that are accurate beyond 48 hours.

The path projections on Katrina and Rita changed substantially every 12 hours. Within a few days, the projected paths deviated hundreds of miles.  Over the course of several days, Rita's likely impact zone moved from the southernmost tip of Texas to where it once again included New Orleans (600+/- miles). And those were ISOLATED weather systems in very closely monitored regions.

My concern is that in attempting to control certain aspects of large scale weather, physical experiments could upset sensitive global weather factors unknown to us at this time and put even more people at risk. For example, oceanic salinity has only VERY recently been observed to appear to have some major effect on heat pumps within the oceans, which affects underwater currents, which appear to affect weather over a large area. Melting icecaps change the salinity in 'trigger' regions of these areas, and appear to produce major changes in the way the oceanic currents and temperatures are distributed. This single trigger by itself (regardless of the cause of the change in the trigger) can mean the difference between London being a generally nice place to live or a Siberian freezer.

It doesn't take much to cause a major worldwide famine. A single erupting volcano can impact midwest US crop yields sufficiently to reduce exports from the US to the rest of the world, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths from starvation. Tampering with a major weather system has the potential to cause a similar secondary effect. For example, what if instead of releasing its energy primarily over the ocean and at the point of landfall, a hurricane continues on as a tropical storm or depression to deliver too much moisture to the midwest? Crops are flooded. Plantings and harvests are delayed. Shipping is impacted, etc. By experimenting with hurricane energies, there is a risk of negative secondary effects. What those effects might be, and the magnitude of those effects is something that won't be known until it happens.

In the meantime, ONE possible consideration is to alter our habits and PREVENT or minimize the impact weather has on a specific populace. Gradual relocation of high-density coastal communities is one consideration. Restrictions on building densely populated communities in hazardous areas is another.
« Last Edit: 28/09/2005 12:12:04 by escudo »
 

Offline escudo

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Re: Controling severe weather question?
« Reply #8 on: 28/09/2005 20:20:58 »
Hurricane severity is principally governed by the amount of energy available in the ocean mass below the storm system. Reducing the energy available to the storm systems MIGHT provide a means to reduce the immediate impact of hurricanes on sea-based and coastal assets and ecologies. So, the question becomes, "How might one reduce the energy available to the storm system?".

Here are two potential methods of cooling large ocean bodies by interference with solar heating. In presenting these two methods, I assumed that solar energy is THE primary source of imparting energy into the oceans waters which produce these storms.

These methods are proposed as examples of something that while expensive and logistically difficult, IS technologically feasible, but NOT recommended. The secondary impacts are COMPLETELY unquantified. In other words, in agreement with the adage that "Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should." I’ll phrase it in another more on-topic way, "Simply because technology enables an action is neither a measure of the value of that action, nor a measure of the ultimate cost of that action."

Also unknown is the actual effectiveness of either model in reducing hurricane numbers or severity. The results of theoretically modeling my ideas would be interesting.
 
Method 1) Deploy reflective particulates in the upper atmosphere above the Gulf of Mexico to reflect sunlight back into space. These particulates would have to be designed to quickly fall out of the atmosphere to minimize long-term effects. They would have to be deployed in advance of each hurricane as upper-level winds and particulate fall-out would quickly disperse the particulates from the immediate area. It is unknown when the deployment should occur, how long the particulates would have to be in place, or how dense the particulate screen would need to be to sufficiently cool the water mass. Possible negative effects include massive impact on marine life, impact on weather systems moderated by the Gulf Stream currents, shift of hurricane precipitation location and amounts from coastal areas to inland areas, with possible negative impact on food production (see above posts), unquantifiable ecological impact of tertiary disposition of the particulates, and other impacts as yet unknown. The impact on “chem-trail” conspiracy theorists is also unknown.

Method 2) Deploy a series of large-area solar shields in geosyncronous orbit above the Gulf of Mexico (and elseswhere as needed prior to hurricane season). When properly aligned, these shields would prevent a specific percentage of sunlight from significantly heating the ocean water. To avoid the need for annual launches, these shields could be designed to align themselves so as to NOT block the sun during other periods of the year. Deployment or design could be such that shield spacing or physical construction of each shield allows some light through to permit a "twilight" effect if deemed necessary for marine life and navigation during the hurricane season. While technologically possible, the costs and mechanics of implementing such an experiment would appear to be substantial. Possible negative effects include shifting severe storm development to other zones of the ocean, altering seasonal temperature variations worldwide, major impact on marine ecologies (especially  marine animals and plants dependent on diurnal cycles for feeding and navigation), and other unknown effects.

Keep in mind that regardless of the method, altering the Gulf/Seaboard ocean temperatures on such a large scale could have devasting impact on weather conditions worldwide (see above posts) and instead of merely solving the hurricane problem, create conditions much more damaging, costly, and life-threatening to lives and property on a global scale.
 

Offline ukmicky

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Re: Controling severe weather question?
« Reply #9 on: 28/09/2005 21:53:14 »
Escudo


I'm not an expert, but I’m not sure if your idea would work as I thought that a lot of the heat is transported to the area through ocean currents like the Gulf Stream?

Also there are already large amounts of particles like soot etc in the upper atmosphere causing global dimming , reflecting the suns rays back into space.

I read a article a while back regarding global dimming that went on to say[in words better than mine] that if we were to clean up our act and cut the amounts of pollutants we pour into the atmosphere from our power stations, planes, cars  etc to quickly, it could raise temperatures and increase global warming as we would decrease the amount of soot in the atmosphere, which  acts like a buffer reflecting large amounts of the suns energy back out into space.


Michael                                      
« Last Edit: 28/09/2005 23:46:29 by ukmicky »
 

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Re: Controling severe weather question?
« Reply #9 on: 28/09/2005 21:53:14 »

 

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