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Tornado poppers

Stop tornados while they’re small
  [vote for,

Tornado formation is a surprisingly complex and difficult process. You need the weather conditions to be just right and have no major geographic obstacles, but despite large amounts of research and powerful simulators, the mechanisms are still quite poorly understood. “Storm chasers” have been developing methods trying to predict where a tornado will touch down for quite a few years (not unlike the movie “Twister”). But once it does touch down, there is not much anybody can do about it, except for getting out of the way. Fast. What I’m proposing here is to try to fight back. The way you would do this is by dropping a blast bomb near the epicenter of the formation cell, while the tornado is gathering power. The kind of bomb you would use is one that creates a powerful shockwave but minimize spraying deadly shrapnel. My guess is that the wind of a powerful enough shockwave could destabilize the forming tornado and would either break it apart into smaller vortices or dissipate it altogether.

Needless to say, scrambling a jet bomber or launching a guided missile for such a task would be a major operation. Not to mention the great risks involved if the tornado is anywhere near a populated area. But the possibility of saving human lives, not to mention billions of dollars in property damage, would probably make it worthwhile.

imho, Aug 13 2003

tornado busters http://www.halfbake...a/tornado_20busters
[imho, Oct 21 2004]

Tornado FAQ http://www.spc.noaa.../tornado/index.html
[imho, Oct 21 2004]

"Twister" http://movies.warne...ster/cmp/swirl.html
[imho, Oct 21 2004]

Tornadoes http://www.theolymp...section/25026.shtml
Homoerotic twisting action [DeathNinja, Oct 21 2004]

Tornado energy http://www3.sympati...d/Tornadoenergy.htm
[imho, Oct 21 2004]


       Try a hydrogen bomb, its time to put those to good use before someone starts a war with them.
kbecker, Aug 13 2003

       We should learn how to capture tornadoes and ship them over to China.
DeathNinja, Aug 13 2003

       According to news footage most tornadoes appear to affect midwestern trailer parks. It'd be silly to build all those nukes and not use them...
chud, Aug 13 2003

       //possibility of saving human lives//... by the Fearless Fosdick method...
lurch, Aug 13 2003

       For all the nuke aficionados among you, here are a few back of the envelope estimations (numbers are from google - see link):   

       1 ton of TNT has 4.184 billion joules of energy   

       The convective available potential energy (CAPE) of the atmosphere is about 1500 jouls per Kg   

       So blowing up a 1-ton bomb will overwhelm any atmospheric convective structure of a mass of 2.79 million Kg. In other words, about 2 million cubic meters of air, or a cube of about 130 meters on the side.   

       This may be smaller than a typical tornado, but it’ll sure give it a decent punch. My guess is that that would be plenty to destabilize an emerging tornado. And all this is with only a 1-ton bomb – completely conventional.
imho, Aug 13 2003

       Not necessarily. You can have shear winds without a tornado. The fact is that tornados are rare while shear winds are quite common. To create a tornado, similar to a crystal, you need a seed to build on. Once the seed is destroyed, I think it would be unlikely to have another form immediately after.
imho, Aug 13 2003

       A seed? Don't you need a meso-tornado? At several times the volume of a twister I'd hardly call that a seed. Maybe a "condition," but not a "seed."
bristolz, Aug 13 2003

       Granted. The point was that you don’t just have tornadoes popping up everywhere, just because you have some shear wind.
imho, Aug 13 2003

       I have it on excellent authority (Eric Rasmussen of NSSL, who headed the Vector project on which "Twister" was based) that this sort of plan would not work at all. This exact idea was posted by austere last year, so I wrote and asked about it. Specifically, the bit about "the wind of a powerful enough shockwave could destabilize the forming tornado" is inaccurate. It would not, in Mr. Rasmussen's belief. I'll take his view over yours any day.
waugsqueke, Aug 14 2003

       But what will work is if you climb, vertically, the interior of a tornado with a big, single-engine propellor-driven airplane where the prop runs counter to the rotation of the tornado. It just unwinds it all and you fly away into the (now) fleecy blue sky.   

       The other way to do it is to set a large-ish vat of superglue juuust at the bottom of the funnel. Produces a beautiful big twisty sculpture with cows and cars and cedar siding and such sticking out of the sides. Sometimes the cows moo for a while.
bristolz, Aug 14 2003

       [waugsqueke]: I would too. And yet, it still might be worth a try...   

       [bristolz]: your first idea sounds like the "tornado buster" idea- see link
imho, Aug 14 2003


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