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Can Science and Technology Help Stop Hurricanes?

The year 2017 has brought many destructive hurricanes such as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, Jose, and more.

Hurricane Harvey Houston Texas

This brings up an important question: is there a way to weaken the hurricanes before they touch ground? Currently, scientists have developed three potential solutions to ending hurricanes.

  1. Hurricanes are usually formed when water vapor condenses to make rain and clouds. One of the solutions for preventing a hurricane is a theory formed by Daniel Rosenfeld. He and his colleagues proposed injecting smoke into the hurricane, causing raindrops to condense and freeze in the outer corners of the storm. This technique will help lower wind speeds and reduce the size of the hurricane.
  2. Bill Gates proposed another technique. He suggested injecting cold water into the hot storms to slow its speed. The technology used for this process is wave powered rafts that can place cold ocean water in the path of the storm and try to scatter it. 
  3. The third solution has the nickname “the sunglass effect.” This solution involves pumping huge amounts of sulfates or dense gases that can absorb sunlight into the atmosphere. With the absorption of the sunlight, the ocean waters will be cooler, causing fewer hurricanes to form.

All science and technology have their negatives, and these suggestions have some problems. Bill Gates’ proposed idea has a significant downside; a hurricane can be formed in two to three days, which does not provide enough time to pump billions of gallons of ocean water with wave-powered rafts to weaken the hurricane. The“sunglass effect” could form holes in the ozone layer by pumping dense gases into the atmosphere. The atmospheric ozone layer protects the earth from high amounts of radiation from the sun. Nevertheless, scientists say the “sunglass effect” technique can be further developed into a more tangible solution.  Technology has the potential to help society weaken and stop these hurricanes; however, we must be cautious with the techniques used. Unfortunately, these options are not only unpredictable, they are also costly. The “sunglass effect” has an average cost of 10 billion dollars per project, and Bill Gate’s solution has a very high cost as well. However, these solutions, with more investigation, have the potential to help hurricanes diminish in size and could help save many lives.

 

Works Cited

Biello, David. “Can Science Halt Hurricanes?” Scientific American, 1 Nov. 2011,

www.scientificamerican.com/article/halting-hurricanes/.
“Can Bill Gates stop hurricanes? Scientists doubt it.” CNN, Cable News Network,

www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/science/08/28/hurricanes.gates.gray/.
Dickerson, Kelly. “Engineers Could Stop Hurricanes With the ‘Sunglasses Effect’ – but It Would

Require a Huge Sacrifice.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 13 Nov. 2015,

www.businessinsider.com/how-to-stop-a-hurricane-sulfate-cooling-2015-11.

Hoffer, Steven. “How To Stop A Hurricane: 4 Strange Theories On How To Subdue A Natural

Disaster.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 26 Aug. 2011,

www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/26/how-to-stop-a-hurricane_n_938357.html.

Kaufman, Rachel. “Can You Stop a Hurricane by Nuking It?” LiveScience, Purch, 29 Oct. 2012,

www.livescience.com/24383-can-you-stop-a-hurricane-by-nuking-it.html.

Rosenfeld, D., et al. “Simulation of Hurricane Response To Suppression of Warm Rain by Sub-Micron Aerosols.” Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Copernicus GmbH, 2 July 2007, www.atmos-chem-phys.net/7/3411/2007/acp-7-3411-2007.html.

http://www.businessinsider.com/hurricane-harvey-texas-photos-shocking-scale

Watts in the Water

4 Comments

  1. Wow! It’s so cool that we could actually be on our way to stopping hurricanes. Thanks for sharing, Sarai — I didn’t know about many of these methods. 🙂