MadSci Network: Earth Sciences
Query:

Subject: Could we use endothermic reactions to reduce hurricane strength?

Date: Sat Sep 24 22:23:24 2005
Posted by Robert Clark
Grade level: teacher/prof School: Widener University
City: Chester State/Province: PA Country: USA
Area of science: Earth Sciences
ID: 1127625804.Es
Message:

Hurricanes need a temperature of 80 F, 26 C, to form. 
Cooler waters in Hurricane Bonnie's wake caused Hurricane 
Danielle to dissipate: 
What Lies Beneath a Hurricane. 
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2000/ast11sep_1.htm 
 It only had to be reduced to 75 F for this to occur. 
 Could we cover the hurricane path with chemicals to reduce temperature? 
 Ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) for example; 14 kg of ammonium nitrate 
can freeze 14 liters, 14 kg, of water: 
Re: Making ice without machinery 
http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/jun99/929075573.Ch.r.html 
 To reduce temperature only by 3 C, the amount can be reduced by a factor of 
1/30th. 
However, freezing has the advantage that it would take some time for it to 
melt. 
 How much NH4NO3 would be required? For freezing, the same amount as 
the water you wanted to freeze. To estimate, I'll use a size of the eye of 10 
km across. This is an area of 100 square kilometers. The thickness depends on 
how quickly it melts at 26 C.
Let's say 1cm thick. Then this is 10,000m x 10,000m x .01m = 
1,000,000 m^3. This is 1,000,000 metric tons of water. Then it would require 
that amount of NH4NO3.
 It would require much less if you only wanted to decrease the 
temperature 3 C, perhaps only 30,000 metric tons for the same 
volume of water. However, the amount required might wind up being the 
same since the ammonium nitrate would have to be continually supplied. 
 

   Bob Clark


Re: Could we use endothermic reactions to reduce hurricane strength?

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