MadSci Network: Earth Sciences


Date: Thu Sep 8 20:02:27 2005
Posted By: Denni Windrim, Interpolator
Area of science: Earth Sciences
ID: 1126126330.Es

Someone a while back asked a similar question, with a slightly more powerful ordnance in mind. They wanted to know if a 10 megaton nuclear device (against which a GBU-43/B is a little pink bunny) could serve the purpose you propose. The short answer is no, and the reason is that a hurricane is unbelievably more powerful than we mere mortals can imagine. (Think of it this way: Katrina leveled an entire city, to say nothing of the effect it had on the rest of Florida and Missouri. How many B52s full of bombs would it take to create the same effect?)

Your solution will not work for a couple of reasons. First, as I've already mentioned, stopping a hurricane with a bomb is like trying to stop a semi with a flyswatter. Second, hurricanes are driven from the ground up, as rising moist air condenses and releases heat. Adding the explosive energy of a bomb merely adds to the heat, and will make the storm hurricane just a little worse instead of just a little better.

If you really want to reduce the power of a hurricane, what you need to do is lay a huge freaking tarp out just above the ocean in the path of the storm. That will prevent the warm, moist air from rising at that location. The logistics of that one, needless to say, make the exercise of dropping a nuke on the storm look pretty trivial. And besides, you just hand the problem to someone else.

For more on nuclear warheads and hurricanes, you might want to visit this site to find out why you would just annoy the hurricane.

Moderator note: You might also find this answer from our archives (on smaller atmospheric phenomena) interesting as well.

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