Monday, 20 Oct, 2008 Science

Scientists to Inject Smoke Into Hurricanes to Lower Their Destructive Power


A team of Israeli scientists came up with a solution to pacify hurricanes. Their idea is to seed hurricanes with smoke particles, thus decreasing the speed of winds and ease their destructive power.

It would be worth noting that the destructive potential of a hurricane lies in the strong winds inside it, which is why a small decrease in wind speed would be enough to significantly reduce its destructive power.

Hurricanes obtain their power from warm water flowing on the surface of the sea. When the water evaporates, it goes up into the hurricane, condenses and falls as rain, discharging its heat energy. This process is called "heat cycling," NewsScientist reports.

Together with his colleagues from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Daniel Rosenfeld was able to analyze the effect of injected smoke in computer-simulated storms. He says that the smoke injected in the lower parts of a hurricane leads to the condensation of the water vapor at a lesser altitude than usual, generating small drops which are swept into higher parts of the hurricane, where the droplets freeze. Such injection of energy on the peripheral regions of the storm weakens its destructive center, leading to the decrease of wind speeds.

The idea was not tested in the wild yet. Nevertheless, scientists estimated the amount of smoke that is needed to lower the destructive power of a hurricane. They say that a 10 cargo aircraft might carry just enough material to produce smoke particles required to seed one hurricane.

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