Home / Science / NOAA Explains Why We Can’t Nuke Tropical Cyclones

NOAA Explains Why We Can’t Nuke Tropical Cyclones

By Rob Schwarz on December 18, 2012 at 1:53 pm
Nuking Cyclones

Earlier this year, NOAA shocked the world when they announced that mermaids — yes, mermaidsprobably aren’t real.

Well, unfortunately, they’ve once again decided to crush the hopes and dreams of those of us who sometimes like to think outside the box. Like, way outside the box.

On their Tropical Cyclone Modification And Myths page, there’s a brief section explaining why, exactly, we shouldn’t use nuclear weapons to destroy tropical cyclones:

“During each hurricane season, there always appear suggestions that one should simply use nuclear weapons to try and destroy the storms. Apart from the fact that this might not even alter the storm, this approach neglects the problem that the released radioactive fallout would fairly quickly move with the tradewinds to affect land areas and cause devastating environmental problems. Needless to say, this is not a good idea.”

The article goes on to give a fairly thorough explanation of the science behind why a nuclear bomb wouldn’t effectively stop a cyclone. And then there’s this little bit of trivia:

“The heat release [of a fully developed hurricane] is equivalent to a 10-megaton nuclear bomb exploding every 20 minutes.”

Good to know.

The point is this, folks: You can’t just shove a tropical storm to the side by exploding it with a nuke, no matter how much we may want to try.

Check it out: Why don’t we try to destroy tropical cyclones by nuking them?

Image courtesy Steve Snodgrass.

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About Rob Schwarz

Rob Schwarz is a freelance writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. Follow him on Twitter @Dimentoid or on Google+, and be sure to like Stranger Dimensions on Facebook!
  • http://www.sforscience.blogspot.com Abhinav

    A cyclone is kept going by two forces-pressure gradient force and the coriolis force. We just need to increase the energy yield of one of these forces in order to make the cyclone collapse, even if we are able to do this just for a moment. I have already participated in a competition putting this idea forward and got 4th position in the Indian Subcontinent. So this must be true, otherwise I wont have won any of the prizes. This idea is my patent.