Artificially cooling seawater is not enough to weaken a hurricane

A devastating hurricane, also called hurricane, can reach 380 km in length. It usually forms over the Atlantic Sea at a temperature of 26.5 degrees Celsius. Sea water evaporates due to the heat and turns into a cloud. At the same time, a pressure gradient atmospheric is created, moving a large amount of air towards the Earth’s surface. Unfortunately, these strong winds usually destroy everything in their path. They leave behind a totally devastated landscape and many deaths.

A woman and her child walking down a flooded street following a typhoon.

Researchers then came up with the idea of artificially cool the surface of the oceans to limit the devastating force of the winds before they hit land. However, scientists from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric and Earth Science have just demonstrated that the technology used to weaken hurricanes is ineffective in mitigating them.

In spite of massive amounts of water cooled by the device, the researchers observed only a modest reduction in the intensity of the winds before they hit the ground.

Lower winds don’t necessarily mean less damage

James Hlywiak, a graduate of the UM Rosenstiel School, is the lead author of this study. Hlywiak and his team used a very sophisticated computer model to simulate a hurricane. They then cooled down to 2 degrees Celsius an artificial sea with an area of ​​260,000 km², the equivalent of 21,000 cubic kilometers of water.

Researchers could not reduce the destructive force of the hurricane experimentally simulated only 15%. These results suggest that the weakening of the marginal force of the winds does not necessarily mean a reduction in the damage inland. Besides, the hurricane Katrina that hit Louisiana in 2005 which weakened before making landfall and left after its passage an apocalyptic landscape following the heavy flooding.

Reinforcement of preventive measures to avoid disasters

Hlywiak claimed that the artificial ocean cooling to weaken hurricanes is not a solution to mitigate disasters. His experiments have largely proven the ineffectiveness of the interventional technology currently used to weaken a hurricane. However, in recent years, hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons have been increasingly powerful.

Category 3 hurricanes are the most dangerous, because they generate a lot of wind and rain. He then proposed to reinforce the ground infrastructures, to improve the efficiency of the procedures for evacuating people and to develop detection devices to be able to face the increasing force of the bad weather to come.


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