It Is Pointless to Try and Weaken a Hurricane
Suggestions that artificially cooling an ocean might prohibit the development of intense hurricanes have been discounted as not viable options because of many atmospheric levels that would need to be influenced for it to occur, according to models studied by researchers at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science.
What to know:
Artificially cooling the ocean to weaken hurricanes before landfall would require such great amounts of intervention technology that it would be a highly inefficient solution to mitigate any disaster.
Weakening the intensity of a hurricane by marginal amounts doesn’t necessarily mean a decrease in the likelihood for inland damages and safety risks.
Simulations involving a combination of air-sea interaction theories indicate that even if scientists were able to cool an area larger than the state of Oregon, the simulated hurricanes weakened by only 15%.
The amount of energy extracted from the ocean to achieve this small reduction is equivalent to more than 100 times the amount consumed across the entire United States in 2019 alone.
The number of resources used for what appears to be little impact on the hurricane would likely be better spent adapting strategies such as reinforcing infrastructure, improving the efficiency of evacuation procedures, and advancing the science around detection and prediction of impending storms.
This is a summary of the article “Targeted Artificial Ocean Cooling to Weaken Tropical Cyclones Would Be Futile ” published by the journal Communications Earth & Environment on August 19, 2022. The full article can be found on nature.com.
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