A visionary scientist suggests that we can protect ourselves from hurricanes by creating small tropical storms with an array of jet engines:
Moshe Alamaro has a modest proposal. Get a fleet of ocean barges and mount 10 or 20 jet engines -- tails up -- on each one. Fill the barges with aviation fuel and tow them into the path of an oncoming hurricane. Light off the jets.Given the fuel usage and pollution involved, this seems to me to be an idiotic idea. And even if by some miracle it could actually be made to work, one wonders whether it might simply change the course or the strength of a hurricane in unpredictable and possibly devastating ways.
Then, too, something in the tenor of Alamaro's discourse makes me particularly skeptical:
Emanuel, a top U.S. atmospheric scientist, is not an Alamaro fan: "I hate to sound pessimistic, but Moshe's strategy requires many orders of magnitude of energy more than what he's talking about, and the backfires would have to be almost as strong as the hurricane itself," Emanuel said. "I think, unfortunately, it falls into the category of nutty ideas."Hmmm. Coming up with a crackpot idea straight out of a comic book, supporting it by invoking dubious scientific breakthroughs from behind the Iron Curtain, and offering an aggrieved, personalized rebuttal of a "mainstream" scientist...Alamaro's hit the trifecta! Sounds like he's on the fast track to a lucrative DARPA contract, if nothing else.
Alamaro noted that in the 1970s the Soviet Union formed clouds on several occasions by using jet engines on land, a more difficult feat than in the tropical sea, and he dismissed Emanuel's criticism. "I say that Kerry Emanuel is not impressed by any idea but his own idea."
I'm going to let you in on a little secret, friends. There's only one surefire way to protect America's coasts from hurricanes: A protective barrier of LNG plants like the one Shell wanted to build off the coast of Louisiana:
The plant would suck 100 million gallons of water per day from the Gulf, use it to raise the temperature of the liquefied gas (which is 260 degrees below zero), and then return the now-frigid water to the Gulf.I'm joking, of course. But we may live to hear this proposal made in earnest.