Can we stop the hurricane that is raging?
Now, considering that the climate crisis is imminent, we really need more experimentation and thinking. In fact, as early as decades ago, mainstream scientists were seriously studying this issue. So, is there any way to stop a hurricane? Several researchers in related fields have provided answers.
Alexandra Anderson Frey (Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington)
When dealing with powerful and dangerous forces of nature, the most important thing is usually to find a clear and direct solution. Unfortunately, the most commonly suggested methods are often not straightforward at all. Let’s start with the most basic knowledge. A tropical cyclone (a hurricane can only be considered a hurricane when the wind speed exceeds 119 kilometers per hour) is a huge, constantly churning and rotating storm, driven by the heat provided by the warm tropical ocean. The wall is the area with the strongest wind and the largest amount of precipitation. The center of the wall is the “wind eye”, which is an area with light clouds and light wind.
So, theoretically, the circulation of a hurricane may be interrupted by a sufficiently powerful explosion… But if you consider the scale of the explosion, you may not be so optimistic. The heat released by a hurricane is equivalent to exploding a 10 million-ton nuclear bomb every 20 minutes. This energy far exceeds the annual energy consumption of human beings. Even without considering the major public health problems caused by frequent nuclear fallout, the logistical support involved in consuming such a large amount of energy multiple times in each storm season will be immeasurable.
What about warm water? Obviously, if we can remove the power source of these giant storms, they will lose their destructive power. Various theories have been proposed, including stirring up the colder waters in the depths, and dragging icebergs from the Arctic to suppress offshore surface heat sources, and so on. Similarly, the logistics involved in these methods is absurd: The Atlantic Ocean and Meteorological Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates that if the duration of the hurricane’s eye wall area is to be reduced by 24 hours, it will be required It affects more than 7,200 square miles (about 18,600 square kilometers) of ocean. Taking into account the uncertainty of the trajectory prediction, the cooling area will cover 24,000 square miles (about 62,000 square kilometers). Even if someone finds a way to quickly put a large enough ice cube into a 24,000 square mile “soup bowl”, the sudden cooling will have a devastating effect on marine life. Over time, any method based on cooling the ocean surface has become more infeasible, because many observations show that the ocean surface temperature is rising (climate model predictions are also rising).
There have been attempts to change hurricanes in the past (see the STORMFURY project in the mid-20th century), but the growth of hurricanes has complex dynamics, and it is very difficult to clearly isolate the results of any given experiment; for example, when tropical cyclones are brewing The attempt seemed to have achieved initial “success,” but later results showed that it happened to be the moments when the eye wall weakened, and these moments were normal parts of the hurricane’s life cycle (usually strengthening later). Institutions like the National Hurricane Center in the United States focus on improving our physical understanding and prediction of hurricane trajectories and intensity, and provide the best help for policymakers and the public. For others, the focus must be on adaptation, mitigation andeducateAnd ensure that those who are most at risk in severe weather conditions have access to the resources needed to maintain safety.
Phil Krotzbach (Atmospheric researcher at Colorado State University, USA, responsible for issuing seasonal Atlantic hurricane forecasts during the peak hurricane period from August to October)
Nowadays, the “reconstruction” of hurricanes is almost considered a marginal discipline, but this has not always been the case. Beginning in 1962, some of the most famous figures in the field of hurricane science led a 22-year experiment, which was called the “Stormfury Project.” It can be said that this is a very mainstream research project.
The idea behind the Stormfury project is that we can try to “seed” the outer core cloud in a hurricane and strengthen it to weaken the core of the hurricane. However, it is difficult to measure how successful these attempts are. First, we don’t have a control group-we can’t know what will happen if we don’t do this. Suppose you really “planted” a hurricane, and it did work, but will the storm weaken? If you do nothing, will the storm become weaker? We really have no way to know the answers to these questions.
Scientists are still studying this issue, but I am not optimistic. Someone has proposed the idea of cooling sea water, but this may have a huge impact on marine life, and the operation must be started several days in advance, which means that you have to know exactly where it will go before the hurricane arrives.
Hurricanes are large in scale and extremely powerful. The energy they produce far exceeds the energy that humans can produce. You may remember that our last president (Trump) suggested that nuclear weapons should be used to stop a hurricane, but even a nuclear bomb cannot match it—you only get a hurricane that glows at night.
Hugh Willoughby (Professor of Earth and Environmental Studies at Florida International University, mainly studying the dynamics of hurricane motion, structural evolution and intensity changes)
In fact, I am the one who ended the STORMFURY project. In a way, this is a shameless honor.
The goal of STORMFURY is to weaken tropical cyclones. Their idea is to use silver iodide to sow seeds in a hurricane to form a new eye wall outside to weaken the strongest wind in the original eye wall. The project was led by a couple, Joanne Simpson and Bob Simpson. Bob Simpson established the National Hurricane Research Project in the mid-1950s, and all of us in this field thank them.
When I was serving in the Navy, I flew reconnaissance over the Pacific Ocean; I knew what the radar signal of the unmodified concentric eye wall circulation looked like. Later, I went to work in the hurricane department, where I noticed that the hurricanes that were “reconstructed” by the STORMFURY project—that is, those hurricanes that were seeded with silver iodide—showed the same characteristics as the unmodified hurricanes I saw over the Pacific. Some colleagues and I wrote a paper, which proved that the results achieved by the Simpsons in the STORMFURY project are actually just natural changes.
Usually, in the field of science, such a view is controversial-the debate about it will continue for several years. But our paper basically ended this conversation. Joanne Simpson is a grumpy person, and she never forgave me. What a pity, because I am a loyal admirer of her.
Daniel Ethan Horton (Assistant Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Northwestern University, Leader of the Climate Change Research Group)
Due to the geometric relationship between the earth and the sun, most of the solar radiation (sunlight) received by the earth will fall in low latitudes, namely tropical regions. Due to the uneven distribution of sunlight, tropical regions are warmer than high-latitude regions. The Earth’s climate system redistributes the heat received by the tropics to high latitudes through ocean currents and air currents. In the process of redistributing heat, tropical cyclones, namely hurricanes and typhoons, are produced. The redistribution of heat from low latitudes to high latitudes is a key feature that determines regional climate and global circulation patterns. Considering the role of tropical cyclones in this process, it seems unwise to stop the hurricane from advancing or reduce its intensity.
From the perspective of global heat redistribution, perhaps the “safer” goal is to change the path of tropical cyclones to limit their contact with land, humans, and various infrastructures built by humans. However, the power and scale of tropical cyclones are so great that our ability to change their trajectory seems impractical. A similar example of changing the trajectory of a storm can be found in the mid-latitudes, where man-made climate change may make the mid-latitudes storm trajectory slightly shift to the polar direction-we did not realize it, but it is now In terms of the 150-year climate engineering “experiment”, this is a rather mild change.