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Old 27th August 2019, 06:06 AM   #1
MRC_Hans
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Nuking Hurricanes.

Seems a certain Donald Trump suggested, or at least talked about disrupting hurricanes by using nuclear bombs.

Apart from the basic madness of the idea, does it technically have any merit at all? A hurricane feeds from rising hot air (and moisture). How would adding more heat to the equation do anything to stop it? If anything I would think it would only boost it further.

Hans
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Old 27th August 2019, 06:08 AM   #2
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You need a cold fusion nuke for it to work, Hans.
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Old 27th August 2019, 06:08 AM   #3
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Ironically this is a common idea that's been brought up before, so much that as cartoonist Randall Monroe of XKCD pointed out, NOAA actually has a page addressed to answering the questioning.

https://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/C5c.html
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Old 27th August 2019, 06:36 AM   #4
The Great Zaganza
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What about a thermobaric bomb?
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Old 27th August 2019, 06:53 AM   #5
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And even if it could, in theory, work, nuking hurricanes isn't like nuking cities. You nuke a city once, it stays nuked*. From the link above:

Quote:
Attacking weak tropical waves or depressions before they have a chance to grow into hurricanes isn't promising either. About 80 of these disturbances form every year in the Atlantic basin, but only about 5 become hurricanes in a typical year.
We'd have to nuke somewhere between 5 and 80 storms per year, every year, in perpetuity.



*Okay, sure, Hiroshima is pretty nice now, but that still took longer than just brewing up a new storm!
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Old 27th August 2019, 07:11 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
What about a thermobaric bomb?
Many orders of magnitude too small to have any effect.
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Old 27th August 2019, 07:30 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Ironically this is a common idea that's been brought up before, so much that as cartoonist Randall Monroe of XKCD pointed out, NOAA actually has a page addressed to answering the questioning.

https://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/C5c.html
That What If question is, like most of his stuff, pretty funny:

https://what-if.xkcd.com/23/
Quote:
Quote:
What would happen if you exploded a nuclear bomb in the eye of a hurricane? Would the storm cell be immediately vaporized?

—Rupert Bainbridge (and hundreds of others)
This question gets submitted a lot.

It turns out the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—the agency which runs the National Hurricane Center—gets it a lot, too. In fact, they’re asked about it so often that they’ve published a response.

I recommend you read the whole thing, but I think the last sentence of the first paragraph says it all:

“Needless to say, this is not a good idea.”

It makes me happy that an arm of the US government has, in some official capacity, issued an opinion on the subject of firing nuclear missiles into hurricanes.
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Old 27th August 2019, 08:16 AM   #8
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If not hurricanes, then surely nuking tornados would work.
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Old 27th August 2019, 08:38 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Steve001 View Post
If not hurricanes, then surely nuking tornados would work.
Given the scale of the storms that produce tornadoes, I think it's likely that a nuclear explosion at the right time and place might disrupt it enough to keep a tornado from forming. So, in that sense, it might "work" if we ignore minor problems like radiation and the fact that the nuclear explosion would probably do more damage than the tornado would have done.
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Old 27th August 2019, 08:40 AM   #10
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Everytime a Snowflake screams fake news the Hurricanes win.
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Old 27th August 2019, 08:44 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by CORed View Post
Given the scale of the storms that produce tornadoes, I think it's likely that a nuclear explosion at the right time and place might disrupt it enough to keep a tornado from forming. So, in that sense, it might "work" if we ignore minor problems like radiation and the fact that the nuclear explosion would probably do more damage than the tornado would have done.


The problem with nuking tornadoes is actually hitting the twisty little *******.
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Old 27th August 2019, 09:10 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Ironically this is a common idea that's been brought up before, ...
Heck, I remember when Mr. Drysdale told Jed they were planning on dropping bombs into the eye of "Hurricane Daisy" (and everyone hilariously misinterpreted it to thinking they were talking about bombing Grannny). That episode first aired in 1964.
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Old 27th August 2019, 09:35 AM   #13
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I think of a movie from my childhood, made about the time I was born I think, when I hear about nuking weather systems. Kronos. Kronos got stronger when it was nuked.

The energy of tornadoes is also comparable to nukes. And that is just the tornado, the systems that spawn tornadoes are beyond that.

Firestorms can spawn tornadoes so if the nuke creates a firestorm you may get more tornadoes than you started with. And the updraft of the mushroom cloud isn't going to help things.

Possibly warming some excessively cold area within a storm with a nuke has some potential to disrupt the storm.
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Old 27th August 2019, 09:47 AM   #14
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Before anyone else gives a serious nuking tornado reply, I was joking.
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Old 27th August 2019, 10:00 AM   #15
The Great Zaganza
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
Many orders of magnitude too small to have any effect.
That shouldn't be the problem - make it bigger or drop orders of magnitude more.

But in principle, the vacuum effect of a thermobaric bomb might be more effective at disrupting a hurricane than a.pure explosion would.
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Old 27th August 2019, 10:16 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
That shouldn't be the problem - make it bigger or drop orders of magnitude more.

But in principle, the vacuum effect of a thermobaric bomb might be more effective at disrupting a hurricane than a.pure explosion would.
I really don't think so. Hurricanes are formed within areas of low pressure, and the lower the worse.

However, what about a really big ice cube in the path of the hurricane?

ETA: After all, according to the NOAA link upthread, a small hurricane only involves about 50 TW of power.
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Old 27th August 2019, 10:29 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Seems a certain Donald Trump suggested, or at least talked about disrupting hurricanes by using nuclear bombs.
Makes sense to me. With hair like his, wind is a natural enemy.
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Old 27th August 2019, 11:27 AM   #18
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Guys, please, we don't have to nuke the hurricane. We only have to find and destroy the butterfly flapping its wings that started it all. However, pinpointing the exact location of the butterfly will most likely be too difficult which is where the nukes come in.
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Old 27th August 2019, 11:31 AM   #19
The Great Zaganza
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That butterfly is always half a world away - so just nuke whatever is on the opposite side of the globe from the storm's origin.
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Old 27th August 2019, 12:06 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
That butterfly is always half a world away - so just nuke whatever is on the opposite side of the globe from the storm's origin.
I like where you're going with this!
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Old 27th August 2019, 12:10 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Elagabalus View Post
Guys, please, we don't have to nuke the hurricane. We only have to find and destroy the butterfly flapping its wings that started it all. However, pinpointing the exact location of the butterfly will most likely be too difficult which is where the nukes come in.
Just nuke all the butterflies. Once we do that, nobody will complain about hurricanes ever again. Well, unless moths are close enough...
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Old 27th August 2019, 12:18 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
That shouldn't be the problem - make it bigger or drop orders of magnitude more.

But in principle, the vacuum effect of a thermobaric bomb might be more effective at disrupting a hurricane than a.pure explosion would.
An "average" hurricane holds 30-100 Exajoules of energy. Given the energy release of typical thermobaric materials is around 20 Megajoules per kilogramme you're looking at a bomb weighing around a billion tonnes.
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Old 27th August 2019, 12:24 PM   #23
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What about using a Thermo-Nano-Thermitic warhead?

***removes glasses, looks around the room***
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Old 27th August 2019, 12:45 PM   #24
The Great Zaganza
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
An "average" hurricane holds 30-100 Exajoules of energy. Given the energy release of typical thermobaric materials is around 20 Megajoules per kilogramme you're looking at a bomb weighing around a billion tonnes.
Sooo...
One bomb carried by a hundred thousand bombers in a net?
I'm open to suggestions.
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Old 27th August 2019, 12:47 PM   #25
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I still think you need to cool it down.

Where can you get that much ice? The Oort Cloud. Just drop a few large comets on the hurricane and you won't have any problem with that hurricane.
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Old 27th August 2019, 12:52 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
I still think you need to cool it down.

Where can you get that much ice? The Oort Cloud. Just drop a few large comets on the hurricane and you won't have any problem with that hurricane.
The Kent Hovind theory of hurricane control.
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Old 27th August 2019, 01:28 PM   #27
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Sounds like something the Weather Wizard in DC Comics would do....
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Old 27th August 2019, 01:37 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
I really don't think so. Hurricanes are formed within areas of low pressure, and the lower the worse.

However, what about a really big ice cube in the path of the hurricane?

ETA: After all, according to the NOAA link upthread, a small hurricane only involves about 50 TW of power.
A point of clarity, which might be thought of in terms of the chicken and egg thing. The hurricane is *creating*, or at least amplifying, the low pressure due the uplift of air. More uplift, lower pressure. Said uplift results in good measure from the release of latent heat of vaporization, causing higher instability and hence more vigorous uplift. The winds are the result of the atmosphere acting to balance this pressure differential.
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Old 27th August 2019, 03:39 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Seems a certain Donald Trump suggested, or at least talked about disrupting hurricanes by using nuclear bombs.

Apart from the basic madness of the idea, does it technically have any merit at all? A hurricane feeds from rising hot air (and moisture). How would adding more heat to the equation do anything to stop it? If anything I would think it would only boost it further.

Hans

I think he is just itching to nuke something or someone - just because he thinks he can. Just keep him the **** away from that button.
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Old 27th August 2019, 04:05 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
Kronos. Kronos got stronger when it was nuked.

Finally a sensible reason not to!
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Old 27th August 2019, 06:56 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Apart from the basic madness of the idea, does it technically have any merit at all?
Irrelevant. We got nukes, so why not use them?

I bet those greenies will be all against it for some silly reason like that the fallout might cause cancer or something. Snowflakes. This is the 21st century, and we finally have the technology to control the weather. Of course we should do it. People need to overcome their irrational fear of nuclear radiation and get with the program.

Originally Posted by Horatius
We'd have to nuke somewhere between 5 and 80 storms per year, every year, in perpetuity.
5 to 80 nukes per year? That's totally doable. During the 1960's we detonated an average of 43 atmospheric nukes per year, and that was with 20th century tech. I'm sure we could do twice that easily!
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Old 27th August 2019, 10:26 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
I still think you need to cool it down.

Where can you get that much ice? ....
Greenland
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Old 27th August 2019, 11:22 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
Irrelevant. We got nukes, so why not use them?

5 to 80 nukes per year? That's totally doable. During the 1960's we detonated an average of 43 atmospheric nukes per year, and that was with 20th century tech. I'm sure we could do twice that easily!
Start with Mar-a-Largo.
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Old 27th August 2019, 11:29 PM   #34
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Jeez I really dislike New Zealand rugby teams, but this is a bit extreme.

https://www.hurricanes.co.nz/
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Old 27th August 2019, 11:34 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Seems a certain Donald Trump suggested, or at least talked about disrupting hurricanes by using nuclear bombs.

Apart from the basic madness of the idea, does it technically have any merit at all? A hurricane feeds from rising hot air (and moisture). How would adding more heat to the equation do anything to stop it? If anything I would think it would only boost it further.

Hans
The idea is that you distrupt the low-pressure area and thus end the hurricane. As such it's not a bad idea how to end a hurricane, if you're a six year old. If you know some basic science then of course you quickly come to the same conclusion you did.

There is a way to control hurricanes though. It's been tested and it works in principle - biodegradable pellets that suck up moisture like crazy. You deploy them into the hurricane, they suck up the water feeding the storm and it collapses, or at least veers off course and loses some strength.

The only problem is you'd need approximately the entire USAF working around the clock to marginally steer a medium-sized (Category 2) storm. That's why the system never got out of the prototype phase. The amount of energy in a hurricane is too great for any known approach to be cheaper than just repairing the damage it causes.

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Old 28th August 2019, 08:57 AM   #36
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I'd bet if we had a HydrinoTM powered atomic warhead, it could blow out a hurricane and not rain down radioactive death, no problem. Damn you again, Mills!
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Old 28th August 2019, 09:03 AM   #37
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Didn't read any replies ... nuking a hurricane? ... Would be like throwing a sponge at flood.

Mother nature is a million times more powerful than man.
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Old 28th August 2019, 09:33 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Ron Swanson View Post
Mother nature is a million times more powerful than man.

Got to be careful with statements like that. A lot of people say things like that in an attempt to deny climate change. We're creeping up on nature in many ways.

The statement below suggests that "nature" is only 8,000 times more powerful than humans in one measure:

Originally Posted by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_energy

In 2002, this was more energy in one hour than the world used in one year
And that's a pretty broad measure. There are plenty of places where humans are competing with nature on it's scale.
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Make a fire for a man and you keep him warm for a day. Set him on fire and you keep him warm for the rest of his life.
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Old 28th August 2019, 09:37 AM   #39
Ron Swanson
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
Got to be careful with statements like that. A lot of people say things like that in an attempt to deny climate change. We're creeping up on nature in many ways.

The statement below suggests that "nature" is only 8,000 times more powerful than humans in one measure:



And that's a pretty broad measure. There are plenty of places where humans are competing with nature on it's scale.
Ahh .. OK I tend to agree ... "a million" was very broad brush ... I'll go with the data ... even 2000 times in this case would still be applicable
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Old 28th August 2019, 09:44 AM   #40
jimbob
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Originally Posted by sphenisc View Post
Greenland
Well that was my first thought, but moving icebergs sounded a bit impractical.
__________________
OECD healthcare spending
Expenditure on healthcare
http://www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/health-data.htm
link is 2015 data (2013 Data below):
UK 8.5% of GDP of which 83.3% is public expenditure - 7.1% of GDP is public spending
US 16.4% of GDP of which 48.2% is public expenditure - 7.9% of GDP is public spending
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