OK, folks, here’s your weird and way-out patent application for the week: a method for destroying or weakening hurricanes by beaming a heat ray at them from an orbital platform.
Maybe it is crazy, but that same company, Solaren, took a first step in that direction this week when it inked a deal with the northern California utility, PG&E, to provide 200 megawatts of power capacity transmitted from orbit in 2016.
That’s just the start though:
By heating up the upper and middle levels of an infant hurricane, they say they could disrupt the flows of air that power the enormous storms. Air warmed by tropical waters flows up through a hurricane and is vented through the eye into the upper atmosphere. Theoretically, you could heat up the top of the storm and lower the pressure differential between layers, resulting in a weaker storm.
Thanks to regular commenter Robert Koslover for tipping me off to that one; I think HAARP just got a serious relegation in the tin-foil hat weather-modification paranoia league. And it makes the Vatican’s planned solar plant look a bit pathetic by comparison, eh? [image ganked from linked article]
In the sixties, Roger Zelazny wrote ‘Damnation Alley’, in which Hell Tanner drives from Los Angeles to Boston in a land ravaged by near constant hurricanes and tornadoes in an attempt to deliver a life-saving plague vaccine. While we’re nowhere near that doomsday scenario, this year’s hurricane season is certainly hotting up.
Hurricane Gustav is crossing Cuba into the centre of the Gulf of Mexico today, with many of the simulations projecting it to land as a strength three hurricane somewhere in Louisiana on Tuesday night. Meanwhile, a few days further out in the Atlantic tropical storm Hanna (the eighth named storm of the year) is growing steadily and is also projected to land as a hurricane next weekend anywhere from Florida to Mexico. It may or may not enter the Gulf.
Further out than that a number of other weather systems are beginning to form in the infamous ‘hurricane alley’, creating a conveyor belt of large storms. High ocean temperatures of 28-32 degrees in the Gulf of Mexico in particular are increasing the size of intensity of these systems. When the sea temperatures are above 26 degrees, a tropical storm or hurricane above it will intensify. Below that level the cyclone begins to unravel. With Ocean temperatures high and a number of storms forming, the Southeast coast of the US and the caribbean are in for a pounding over the next few weeks. Oil experts are already beginning to predict problems for oil production, with large percentages of US oil production and refining taking place in the Gulf of Mexico. While it would be inaccurate to link a single hurricane to climate change, if tropical ocean temperatures remain high, the residents at the end of hurricane rally will have to expect more storms.
[via The Oil Drum, Gustav weather picture via Weather Underground]