How do you stop a hurricane?

On of the problems several members of my family are working on solving is how do you stop a hurricane before it forms. After the recent events in Florida, the family has decided to expend mental energy on this topic. BBC Weather Central says, “Hurricanes are one of the most dangerous natural hazards to people and the environment. They are essential features of the Earth’s atmosphere, as they transfer heat and energy between the equator and the cooler regions towards the poles.” The real question is how to prevent this dangerous phenomenon. I am currently thinking about that topic, and suggest that maybe you give it a couple moments thought. The more people who attempt to solve the problem the faster we will find a solution.

The first thing you have to do to begin the process of building a guide on how to stop a hurricane is build a logic framework and devise a plan. I use a simple logic system that sounds something like this, “Reason is the power to observe at least three categories of assumptions including form, function, and structure.” Appling this logic framework to stopping a hurricane involves thinking about how a hurricane actually forms.

1) What assumptions do we need to observe to questions the structure of a hurricane?

The first question of structure is about what makes up the recipe to form a hurricane. A hurricane must have a warm source of very moist air, which oceans tend to provide from time to time. Once the ocean provides enough warm moist air the next element in the recipe is rotation sometimes provided form the earths rotation itself and sometimes provided from the jet stream. To make a long story short the warm moist air rises and begins to rotate and if the process continues for long enough, a hurricane develops. The structure of a hurricane is fairly simple, which hopefully will provide us with a chance to figure out how to destabilize, breakdown, or even reverse the formation of a hurricane.

You do not have to trust my explanation, according to the BBC Weather Center, “As the warm sea heats the air above it, a current of very warm moist air rises up quickly, creating a center of low pressure at the surface. Trade winds rush in towards this low pressure and the inward spiraling winds whirl upwards releasing heat and moisture before descending.” The BBC Weather center does a great job at explaining exactly how the formation of a Hurricane occurs, “The rotation of the Earth causes the rising column to twist, gradually taking on the form of a cylinder whirling around an eye of relatively still air, free from clouds.” The final idea I would like to examine from the BBC Weather Center explanation explains the height of a hurricane. “Further aloft at 6 miles the cloud tops are carried outwards to give thick layer clouds due to the outward spiraling winds leaving the hurricane core.” This explanation might create some of the clues necessary to breakdown a hurricane.

2) Questions of how a hurricane functions involve looking at what makes them sustainable.

Heat energy is stored in the moist water vapor, after all heat is a form of energy! The water evaporates and transfers heat into the rotating hurricane. This produces the huge clouds you see on radar images of a hurricane. Since the ocean has an abundant supply of warm moist water vapor, the hurricane has a near infinite supply of energy if it stays over the ocean. Starting to think about the various problems associated with how a hurricane functions begins the process of gathering the necessary knowledge. In my estimation, figuring out how specific hurricane functions interact with the environment will be the key to asking the right questions.

3) Questions of form we know that satellites can detect hurricanes.

According to the BBC Weather Center, “Satellites detect hurricanes in their early stages of development and can help to provide early warning of imminent hurricanes. Reinforced aircraft fitted with instruments fly through and over hurricanes, and weather radar can locate storms within 200 miles of the radar station.” It is reasonable to suggest from the technology we have available that we can locate a hurricane before it becomes dangerous. Now we just need to figure out all the assumptions we need to isolate to begin to figure out how to use technology to stop a hurricane.

This is only the beginning of this thread of discussion. This is a problem I will be working on and the next step is to start thinking about possible solutions. That will be the next part of this guide.

33 Replies to “How do you stop a hurricane?”

  1. Hello,
    My thoughts on stopping the hurricane starts with early detection.
    Isn’t there some kind of explosive, that can be dropped in the open water that would suck the oxygen out of the air.
    Or some kind of explosive that would cool the water in the area of the hurricane, because the fact that it’s a small hurricane and just starting, these things could stop the hurricane.
    I believe there has to be something in some way that can stop hurricanes early.
    I live in the area that Charlie hit last August and saw the destruction first hand, something must be done.
    Hurricanes are caused by Energy, we need to reverse the energy or stop the energy from growing.
    Thank you
    Peter A. Tibaldi

  2. Since we know that Hurricanes form in a small
    area in the ocean with warm moist air.
    First is it forms as a small circle with an eye.
    We can stop it into becoming a big hurricane
    by dropping ice cubes over that area with atleast
    10 to 20 airplane loads.
    This will cool down the moist air, and the heat
    energy the hurricane will get will be dicipated.
    Hence we can stop a small storm into becoming
    a big hurricane.

  3. The cold water at the bottom of the ocean needs to be brought up to the surface of the ocean. If a huge shot of air was shot to the bottom of the ocean to bring up the cold water, the hurricane might lose its power. Maybe a high explosive in the path of the hurricane at the bottom of the ocean could send up enough colder water…

  4. I think all of these ideas are great. One thing we need to remember thow is what would the effect on are enviroment be if we did stop hurricanes. Also by dropping bombs in the ocean or causeing explosions at the bottom of the ocean we might cause other probloms like tidal waves or earthquakes.

  5. this an important topic it needs new “can do” minds,cooling in the early stages does seem key and perhaps a look at how to direct the hurricane north to the cooler atlantic off the east coast. i believe the technolgy exist to prevent the worst effects but what is required are the minds willing to think on a grand scale.let us hope our massive goverments would at least entertaine that there are orther forces to battle on the planet besides thier choosen enemy.

  6. How about design planes with big cold air fan blowers to push the hurricane more north to colder waters. The military has great planes to fly so close to the storm. Or develope some under water cooling system to shoot cold air up to the forming storm.

  7. This is an interesting and worthwhile pursuit. I only wonder with the millions of dollars in U.S. Loss from the 2004-2005 hurricane season, why our government wouldn’t be more engaged in developing technologies to arrest hurricane developement. I’m no scientist, but I have to believe that breaking a hurricane into its fundamental elements as you suggest would provide us the ability to target removal of one of these building blocks resulting in a breakdown of the hurricane. Take the fire triangle as an example. Fire fighters know that three elements are needed to produce fire (Fuel, Heat, and Oxygen). Remove or affect any one of these elements and the fire is extinguished. I guess the real issue would be the magnitute of influence needed to target an element within a hurricane. It is easy in a contained environment to surpress a confined fire but think how this is complicated when applied to a large scale like a forest fire. Same principle much larger effort. I guess what I’m saying is what technique to arrest a building block of a hurricane is MOST theoritically possible? I recently read an article (http://www.wesh.com/news/3963137/detail.html) about a man who claims he has developed a Powder capable of absorbing 4000 times it weight. There may be some merit with this. The feasible answer may be a combination of manageable techniques which target a breakdown of two or more hurricane elements. Best of luck in your efforts and I hope that someday we can eliminate the fear and financial implications of these disasters.

  8. With all that has happened in the past few days in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina you have to remember that when we start messing around with nature it always seems to bite us in the azz. Albeit sometimes many years or generations later.
    I am fascinated with the dynamics of a population of any species which grows to its carrying capacity. This invariably means that anyone or anything extra or beyond the carrying capacity must die. That the population can only handle so many before it collapses due to resources or whatever. Do you think a population of ten thousand elephants could sustain itself naturally on an island the size of Mannhattan. Humans have been delaying and blocking nature from its rightful course for thousands of years. This is a fact! And no matter how aweful it seems to those of us who are not directly impacted by a catastrophic event it must be remembered that many many people/animals must die to keep the natural order of this world. Die, simply to buy time for more lives to live, just to gain the experience of living. Time is finally catching up to humans. Within the next 50 years we will reach our carrying capacity (estimated to be 12 billion) and then this world will see real chaos and total disorder. I think we’ve been seeing this evolution for many many generations and it has been worsening exponentially.
    No no! I’m no “End of Timer”. Just a realist. Take an ecology course and you will see how the nature “machine” works. On thing for sure…cockroaches will be here long after the last human on earth.
    Leave the hurricanes alone.

  9. I understand the concept of letting nature take its course and I agree with that theory to an extent. However, I’ve given much consideration to developing stategies to stop hurricane formation myself. Whatever the solution, it must meet other criteria aside from removing one of the two basic elements involved. First, we must realize the economics involved in such a huge undertaking. Is the cost worth the effect? Second, would it be feasible to persuade government officials, scientists, engineers, and the population (who would carry the financial burden for generations to come) that the idea merits consideration? Then, aside from the economical stance, what sort of reprocussions would this attempt produce, on humans, wildlife, and nature itself? Would the actions cause more harm than good? Then, we must look at the phenominal geographic territory such and undertaking would involve. These storms can emerge virtually anywhere in the vast oceanic territory along the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The only element we, as a population, could hope to control, or moderate, would be the water temperature. I’ve thought of many ways to do this, but the most logical way, would be to install a huge solar powered pumping system to pull the cooler water from the ocean depths, while circulating the warmer (energy packed)water back through cooling recepticals to reduce its temperature before dispersing it back into the ocean. A vast system 70-100 miles from the coasts of the hardest hit regions might be feasible. This could produce the cooler water temperatures needed to slow or even break up a hurricane. However, securing a system of this magnitude, would pose interesting challenges all of its own. At any rate, these are my thoughts on the subject. T M

  10. What about towing a large metal “sheet”, maybe 2 or 3 square kilometers in area, into the eye of the hurricane and deprive it of the energy and moisture of the ocean? Even if you don´t choke it, you may be able to figure out a way to protect certain areas.
    You need a lot of power and speed, but it does not seem so difficult, considering the power you can get from modern vessels. As hurricanes move at some 20 mph, tracking them is not out of the question.

  11. 20 or more years ago I suggested that huge loads of dry ice be dropped into the ocean in the center of forming hurricanes. I checked out the theory with a professor at Stanford (as near as I recall – in order to be certain, I would have to locate the conversation in one of the hundreds of telephone logs I kept). In short, after discussing with his colleagues, he said that dry ice is mostly carbon dioxide and would not hurt the environment – and that it would probably work. Still, he also said that they were concerned about what other effects it may have; for instance creating mega-storms or hurting the shrimping industry off the coast of Africa.
    I am convinced that cooling the surface of the ocean in the specific locale of the infant hurricane would do the job. However, enough dry-ice or regular ice to do the job could present huge logistical problems. Another possibility would be to (prior to the season) tow icebergs into the regions to wait in strategic positions. When the depression is first discovered, they could then be towed to the general projected paths and blown apart with high explosives to disseminate the ice over a large area. This could prove to be the cheapest method. Of course it would still cost many millions of dollars, but nothing compared to the damage one hurricane can do.
    Note to Chris Powell: Great thought on pulling up the ocean depths, but several things come to mind there: 1). The disruption of the deep sea aquatic life which would follow the current to the surface. 2). The possibility of disrupting the oceanic rivers which greatly effect (or control) the climate of the earth. 3). There could be problems related to the disparate temperatures of moving waters, like creating enormous underwater vortexes. The topical application of ice at the surface would not have this effect.

  12. hello everyone, I’ve emailed a couple of scientist mentioned on newscientist.com in regard to stopping hurricanes. some of the ideas put forth are of note, but they are mostly impracticle. i’ve went to numerous websites trying to learn all i can about them and have wondered if there is an answer to this problem for many years. I believe that they can be stopped but not without some serious power. i know that hot air is what mostly powers hurricanes, and if applied properly could also stop them. if you recall basic thermodynamic properties of the earth and how roughly with each increase in altitude there is a 5 degree decrease in temperature. remember that a hurricane, once developed is an engine and that no engine is stronger than it’s weakest link. the hot air that rises through the center of the eye, and cools very very rapidly towards the top is of particular interest. imagine if you will, 5,10,30, perhaps 50 square mile sheets of mylar (a highly reflective, very cheap material that reflects over 90 percent of radiation) that is placed in geosynchronous orbit above the U.S. at which point when a hurricane is detected and an eye begins to form, they could deflect a HUGE amount of solar radiation a.k.a. sunlight. target this sunlight at 3/4 of the way towards the top of the eye of the hurricane which would cause a gigantic increase in temperature and therefore pressure, resulting in a disruption in the system. inotherwords, pointing 50 different mirros at the eye at one time forcing an increase in pressure which would shorten the storm very fast, causing it to basically turn on itself. this could also be done at night due to the fact that the satellites are in geosynchronous orbit and they have almost 24 hour acess to the sun. within the last 20 years alone the cost of hurricanes to the united states has been well in excess of 100 billion dollars and the cost of a mylar equipped satellite in orbit would be way under 20 million a piece (times 50 of course :). i know that such a project would work, but catching the eye of a person in power to persuade is another matter. keep up the great ideas everyone.

  13. I THINK DROPPING MULTIPLE BOMBS AND HAVE THEM EXPLODE IN THE HURICANE ITSELF WOULD BE ENOUGH ENERGY TO DISRUPT THE ROTATION WHILE IT IS OUT AT SEA.

  14. How about a crap load of C02 tanks in the ocean that release C02 into the air to counter the heat rising the only problem with this theroy would be the amount of C02 (but with all the damage hurricanes cause a few billion a year on C02 is a steal) and the placement of the Canisters to be in the path or where the Hurricane stops.

  15. I would think that since the eye of a hurricane is relatively small and is the main source of power to power the rest of the storm that can extend 100’s of miles from the center, that we just need something to disrupt the eye of the storm and the rest will dispurse along with it. It could literally be something as simple as taking multiple air planes with a parachute type device in the rear, fly in the opposite direction/flow of the storm, grabbing the air and bring it the other direction, thus disrupting the natural flow of the hurricane. With Eyewalls generally only being a few miles wide, 50 planes could pretty much cover the bottom to top of the hurricane and with just a 3 mile radius of the eyewall, could quickly fly in circles until enough air is disrupted and the entire system will disipate.
    This may sound funny, but as you know, air is a powerful thing, wether it’s air from mother nature or air from a main made source. A wind tunnel for testing aerodynamics of cars can produce a simulation of over 200 MPH of wind. Hurricanes at their strongest, generally don’t exceed 175 MPH, so we have the power and technoligy to over power a hurricae. Thus a plane flying at 500 MPH with a Parachute like device could pull ALOT of air in the opposite direction. The end result would be: If the hurricane is rotating at 150 MPH and a shute moves air at 500 MPH the opposite direction, you still have 350 MPH of force going in the opposite direction, which will be more than double the force the hurricane itself is putting out.
    If it woild work, it would definitely be the most economical way and probably could be ready to try in a very short period of time rather than spending years and years of science expermiments to come up with a “Scientific” solution.

  16. I have an idea, put gigantic oscillating wind tunnels every 5 miles along the coast line that will produce enough winds like excess of 200 mph to push away the clouds about a week before they impact and incorporate the flying over of hurricanes in opposite direction and have them drop regular ice out of hercules planes.

  17. The Tropical Fish emits isopropyl alcohol along with an active ingredient which forms a one molecule thick invisible layer on the surface of your swimming pool. The alcohol dissipates as soon as it comes in contact with water. This innovative non-toxic liquid became the popular choice for retaining heat in commercial swimming pools over 15 years ago. It only has been packaged differently to facilitate residential pool owners. Internationally acclaimed, this breakthrough product does not change the balance of PH, chlorine, or alkaline in the water; will not affect vinyl liners or any other pool devices and surfaces; and is completely harmless in contact with pets and humans. It inhibits evaporation, which accounts for up to 90% of heat loss from swimming pools. It reduces the steam loss per hour and therefore the dollar cost of keeping your pool warm. Some have reported energy savings of 40% – 50%. The active ingredient in each Tropical Fish is biodegradable, therefore the Tropical Fish has been designed as a “Slow Release” applicator in order to achieve longevity. Do not pour out the liquid all at once. It will biodegrade within 5-6 days. Even faster when you backwash.

  18. I think we need to keep this simple and as finacialy small as possible, there is a company named Dynamat ( I believe that is correct??) that makes a substance that disipates water expotentialy, Ive seen them turn a gallon of water into powder with about 3 tablespoons of their substance. and best of all its none toxic and converts back to water when introduced into salt water, so in theory we could fly a few planes out and drop this substance in say a 1/8 size pie chunk of the storm and take the water out of the storm.. in turn the storm winds would turn into themselves destoying the storm, the powder would fall into the saltwater of the ocean, turn back into water, and all would be good. Sounds too simple??, Remember some of the worlds best inventions and solutions are the (Damb why didnt I think of that) ones!!! I will find the exact name and address of the company making this product and post it here for everyone… and as far as the ecological out come of this, if we can stop a few and see how long it takes to break them up, we could let them run their course untill they pose a threat to the great life we have come to know.

  19. I Think that all of these suggestions have some merit and have discussed this with friends for some time now. With all of the technology we have available, and money that is spent on uses things in this world like unnecessary wars it seems like someone would be able to do something which would help this worsening situation. Even if a solution could be discovered which would change a hurricane from a category 5 to a category 3 or a 4 to a 2 it could have a big impact on the amount of devastation .

  20. I do believe that there is a way to stop a hurricane. I believe that it was developed back in the 40’s. Crystal like structures were invented that would be placed in the eye of the hurricane. The crystals would take the moisture out of the air thus eliminating the wanning of a hurricane. This has been covered up by the government and all the agencies because they have no idea what the long term effect of this would pose to earth. In the long run, what has the cost of the long term effect of the hurricanes this year, caused us. The thousands of people that have perished this year alone. The billions of dollars that we now have to figure out where it will come from. The pollution of the waste of Katrina that is being burried back into the earth (Love Canal – again?) The air pollution of the burnings. The waste that was introduced into our beautiful oceans. I guess that big business and US GOVT. AGENCIES would benefit by actually having a hurricane devistate our country. I do believe that this aired on one of the science channels not too long ago, unfortunately, I cannot find the source.

  21. My idea is similar to T Moody.
    The key is to disrupt the natural process and then let natural forces (higher level winds, etc.) prevent the formation of the hurricane.
    Since we can track the early formation of a hurricane, we know where it is and its expected direction.
    If a large sheet of material (in the order of 10km x 10km) is placed at the location with the ability to position it (balloons or other craft), then the natural cycle of warm, moist air feeding the storm should be disrupted.
    Additional research/simulation should help determine the type of material, whether it should be reflective, on the water or above, etc.
    I can’t imagine it would cost that much to research and test this. The insurance companies would probably be happy to fund it.

  22. As it seems to me, the idea of stopping a hurricane is very dangerous. If you cooled the waters in front of the hurricane, it could very possibly change the ocean currents path, thus changing global temperatures. (i.e. The Day After Tomorrow) If you dont disapate the heat energy Naturally and at the pace that the Earth has been doing it for so many millions of years, It could have an effect on ocean temperatures, which in turn have an effect on air temperatures. Lastly, hurricanes bring vast amounts of fresh rain water to many island nations in the Carribean and elsewhere, whom depend on that fresh water to live on and also to use for farming purposes. Stopping the rain could be devastating for those people. Personaly I live in South Florida, I took a direct hit From the Frances and Jeanne(the eye is a spectacular thing to behold) as well as direct a hit as i could take living on Florida’s east coast, from Wilma. Its not as bad as everyone makes it out to be if you are prepared for it, Being without power for 12 days absolutely sucks, food in firdge can go bad unless you get ice and pack a cooler, South Florida in the summer time is like a steam bath with bugs, and well ceiling lights are an incredibly wonderful thing. Keeping all that in mind, I think the long term costs and effects of stopping or halting or even altering the natural flow of heat energy from 1 point to another point on the earth’s surface would be far greater and far more reaching.

  23. Every single idea here has one common flaw, they underestimate the size and power of a hurricane. When it comes to the mylar idea, this would only add more heat to a warm-cored weather-system. Sending ice into a hurricane would have no effect at all, given the fact that an entire airplanes load of ice would requiare a small bombs worth of energy to melt, a hurricane produces energy equal to 1000’s of nuclear bombs. Do I even need to comment on the “daiper-absorbant powder idea”? It took 4 tons of this powder to “disipate” a SMALL thunderstorm. A hurricane is thousands of times larger than that so do the math, it would take at least 1 gigaton of diaper powder. Then you have to use hundreds of airplanes all flying into the eye of the hurricane to deliver it, causing an airspace nightmare. You would need hundreds of trained pilots specifically trained to do this, you would have to pay each one of those pilots, pay for all of the jet fuel, pay for the gigaton of diaper-powder, Then finally pray that would even have an effect without losing massive ammounts of aircraft. Here is some very intelligent advice, spend your time forecasting hurricanes paths, building stronger houses in better areas, and evacuating from dangerous areas. That is all im going to say for now, thank you for listening.

  24. Yes, I agree that changing sea surface temperatures could create quite a bit of environmental changes….but at some point we will have to face that fact that Global Warming is changing things due to our intervention so we may have to take active steps to balance it to preserve environments. One of the uses of “The Tube” (www.preventhurricanes.com) is to cool water in areas where corals are bleaching due to unnaturally high surface temperatures. The real goal should not be to prevent hurricanes but keep them in check to the size and intensities they would have been without global warming.

  25. Tube? Sounds like a great idea… What could possibly be bad about cooling the gulf of mexico? Did we forget about the gulf stream and if we cool the gulf of mexico it will slow that down even futher…..Greatly impacting the European economy/health. Once again, another “genious idea” that takes me 2 minutes to find a major flaw. Am I the genious? Or are these ideas just plain horrible?

  26. The only thing this [TUBE] would do is slow down the gulf stream even further and cause much more problems…. In the long run it would heat up the gulf of mexico. There is no way to stop a hurricane, thats a fact.

  27. The fools who make this TUBE machine must be completely ignoring the fact that it will slow down the gulf stream. That will cause severe winters/less rain in Europe, and droughts in the usa. After all’s said and done the situation will be a whole lot worse.

  28. It takes 3 days for my comments to show up then they show up all at once!?!?! Oh well you get the point anyways, TUBE is hopeless.

  29. I have “always” thought that dropping Dry Ice into the eye of the hurricane from planes flying above would dispurse the eye thus disintegrating the hurricane to a less powerful,dangerous status; and cooling off the terribly warm Gulf of Mexico. Someone, other than myself in this forum, also had this idea. It seems safe to the environment and would not disrupt the gulf stream. It wouldn’t hurt for the Gulf to be a bit cooler. The warmer it is — it draws in the hurricanes inland. DRY ICE!!!!

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