Hurricane Sandy.

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by Bebelina, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Depends on what you wanted to do. Hurricanes are driven by heat differentials; warming the water even a little makes it more likely that a hurricane would form. A small mirror would increase the odds of hurricane formation very, very slightly. A Texas-sized mirror would make it pretty likely that more hurricanes would form, and that they would be stronger - since that's a lot of energy for the storm to use for its formation.
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  3. Bebelina Valued Senior Member

    If we think terraforming. How many mirrorors? What size should each of them have? How far away from the planet would they need to placed?

    If we take 200 mirrors each the size of a footballfield for example? What effect would that have on the atmosphere if they were following the sunlight all the time, heating up the planet all around?

    But if we go back to manufacturing hurricanes, when the water is heated and a storm is forming, how do we control its direction? Very very big fans?
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  5. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Terraforming of, say, Mars? There have been a bunch of studies of that. Here's one:

    This study discusses the possibility of using 300 mirrors, each 150 meters across, to warm a 1 km square area of Mars to 20C.

    Fans are going to have the opposite effect of what you think they will. If, for example, you use them in an unstable area of the atmosphere, you will likely get storms BEHIND the fans, since the fans will (artificially) drop the pressure behind them. Also, if the fans are blowing in some direction that allows for orographic (i.e. land) lifting of the resulting wind, that will likely also allow storms to develop, since that would drive warm, moist air higher in the atmosphere.

    Weather modification is a very tricky business, and aside from making water-bearing clouds rain, no one has really gotten it to work. The US tried it twice, with Project Cirrus and Project Stormfury, but could not get any reliable changes in storms. (They did learn a lot about hurricanes though.)

    These projects also exposed one of the biggest problems with weather modification - lawsuits. The first Project Cirrus attempt was on a hurricane headed out to sea. The hurricane turned and hit Georgia instead. The lawsuits followed, even though their attempt to steer the storm almost certainly didn't work.

    Let's imagine what would happen if you tried that with Hurricane Sandy - and it worked. Let's say that you spent millions trying to turn the storm away from the NY/NJ area. And instead of it making that hard left turn into New Jersey, you deflected it so that it continued north and just brushed Cape Cod instead. And instead of killing 131 people and destroying $25 billion in property, it killed only 4 people and destroyed $2 billion in property. A big success, right?

    Except now you're liable for that $2 billion in damages and you are responsible for those 4 deaths.

    Now let's imagine that you spent millions and it DIDN'T work; the storm hit NYC anyway. Now you're responsible for $25 billion in damages and the deaths of 131 people through your negligence.

    Which, at least here in the US, is why few people want to mess with weather modification.
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  7. Bebelina Valued Senior Member

    My guess was pretty good then.

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    About the amount of mirrors and size etc.

    It's just a shame that science must be stifled by politics and money, but that's the world we are living in.

    "...that hard left turn into New Jersey" - I still think there's something fishy about this. If we assume something made it take that turn, then what was it? Did it make a seemingly random turn or ?

    Well, if the fans make the hurricane form behind them, then we can place the fans where we want the storm to go, right?

    If they continue the research in "secret" then people can't come waving with their lawsuits either. I'm sure they don't have the same problem in Russia for example. There people are silenced for less.

    So terraforming Mars is a moneyproblem. How could we raise money to this mission? And how would we explain the necessity to the starving masses?

    What are all the rich people in the world doing with their money? Most of them are just sitting on it.
  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

    No. It hit another storm and that caused the sudden turn. Meterologists were predicting the turn 36-48 hours before it actually turned.

    Unless the air being blown out the front rises due to terrain; then the storm forms in front.

    Well, first you'd need a reason to heat some part of Mars to 70F. If no one was there it would be kind of pointless. So you'd have to combine it with a long-duration mission to make it useful.

    I think most of them are investing it, which is how most got rich in the first place . . .
  9. Bebelina Valued Senior Member

    The reason would of course be to build a spacestation to begin with and from there expand to hotels and permanent residences for very rich people. Food can be transported from Earth at first. Mars and/or the Moon could be like parking/docking places for bigger spaceships. This is of course very far into the future and we never know how long this planet will survive anyway. But if we assume Earth will still be around for a few thousand years and nothing drastical changes the natural course of the civilisation then building colonies on nearby planets seems like the logical next step.
  10. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Getting the surface to 70F is only a (small) part of the problem. Indeed, since the atmosphere is almost nonexistent the temperature really doesn't matter that much; without air there isn't any way to lose (or gain) heat through conduction or convection. And since you'd be wearing a spacesuit you wouldn't care much about the external temperature.

    Terraforming schemes often talk about ways of warming the planet but that's not to make it comfortable for people. It is to raise average temperatures high enough that the CO2 and water ices melt and increase the thickness of the atmosphere. Increase the thickness of the atmosphere enough and you could walk around with a warm coat and an oxygen mask, which would be much more doable than the full pressure suit you'd need there today.

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