General Question

MrGrimm888's avatar

What would happen if we nuked a hurricane?

Asked by MrGrimm888 (14708points) September 5th, 2017

Obviously, it would take a powerful bomb. Would it break up the storm?

If it could stop one, should we try?

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69 Answers

MrGrimm888's avatar

Irma looks catastrophic. The price in property damage could be in the hundreds of billions. Might be cheaper to nuke the storm, and deal with those consequences…

Zaku's avatar

According to this National Geographic article titled ’‘Nuking Hurricanes: The Surprising History of a Really Bad Idea’’ , “NOAA maintains a web page exclusively devoted to debunking this proposal”, and in sum, it would not work (hurricanes are larger and involve more energy than nuclear weapons, and adding nuclear explosions to them would not stop them), but would produce a hurricane full of radioactive material which would add fallout contamination all along its path of destruction, and beyond it.

Muad_Dib's avatar

Sounds like the plot of a rejected DC comic book.

Coloma's avatar

I think @Zaku nailed it. Just adding acid rain to the mix.
Don’t mess with mother nature, gotta just let her take her course.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Thanks for the link @Zaku .

At least I know it’s been considered. I didn’t think it was a bad idea. I’m also not an expert on nukes. Russia just made a bomb that could wipe out Texas. I wondered if such force could break up the eye of a hurricane, or weaken it…

jwalt's avatar

Bomb that can take out Texas? Which one do you mean? The largest nuclear bomb made and tested was the Tsara Bomba, about 150 megatons. Maybe a big dent in Rhode Island, but not big enough to wipe out Texas.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^I read an article about it about a month ago. It was the newest addition to their nuclear arsenal. It may have had multiple warheads. The claim was that one such bomb could wipe out an area the size of Texas…

filmfann's avatar

Keep in mind a nuclear weapon would destroy everything nearby, and spread lethal radiation in every direction.
On the other hand, destroying Texas isn’t much of loss.

JLeslie's avatar

I’d rather try cooling the waters below, with the hopes not too much wildlife is killed. Or, maybe cool the hurricane itself? I’m just hypothesizing. I’ve never read much on various theories to dismantle a hurricane. I have heard the nuclear bomb theory before, and had understood it wouldn’t stop a hurricane.

Jeruba's avatar

@filmfann, I hope you’re joking, but even so, that’s a troubling remark, especially in light of the terrible losses that Texas has just suffered. Please say you didn’t mean it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh the fallout would spread a lot further than it would otherwise.

jwalt's avatar

@MrGrimm888, oh ok. A MIRV (multiple independently-targeted re-entry vehicle) may have up to 5 or more warheads. I had not read the article, but the Russians may have a newer one with more. Five plus nukes hitting Texas would certainly leave a mark. Thanks for the clarification.

Rarebear's avatar

Agree with @Jeruba. That was a terrible thing to write.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Wish it was in social cause then I would say, “It won’t fit in my microwave! !”

flutherother's avatar

It sounds like the crazy sort of thing Trump might do.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think he’s asking in the theoretical sense. Assume the area in question was not populated. What effect what a nuclear bomb have on a hurricane?

kritiper's avatar

Nothing except scatter radioactive fallout over a very broad area, and make cleaning up impossible because of the radioactivity. The hurricane is so much more powerful and larger than any bomb, hence it’s ineffectiveness.

josie's avatar

@filmfann

I have friends in Texas. Shame on you.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You guys! It was a hypothetical question! Could the blast from such a bomb disrupt the hurricane?

ucme's avatar

Then you’d have a shitstorm, like throwing the stuff at a giant fan.

seawulf575's avatar

I think you’d get a Sharknado.

UzZiBiKeR's avatar

The power of the storm is more than many hydrogen bombs. If you dropped one into the center you would end up with a lot of radiation inside the storm dropping radioactive fallout inside the rain. Not a good idea. As far as breaking it up, no chance. It gets it’s energy from the water temperature itself. That is why this storm is so dangerous. The gulf is seven to eight degrees warmer than normal and so far in the Atlantic, Irma has managed to miss direct landfall on the islands, thereby negating any downward power that a direct landfall would cause.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Thanks Dutch. Yes, it was completely hypothetical, as mentioned in the topics area.

I was thinking about it being done wayyyy out at sea. Tactical nuke, in the eye. Again. I was just curious…

Some may remember that I asked a question about, if we could blow hurricanes away with large fans, mounted on ships….

I just fucking hate sitting here, every year, watching those storms slowly come in and destroy places. They move SO slow. If we had a weapon, that could hurt them, they would be easy targets…

Now Irma is coming after ME. Recent models show I will be hit. For those unaware, this could be the third time my house floods(can’t afford to move.)

So. I’m just clutching at straws here… This pattern is growing old. I wish we could do SOMETHING about these slow moving, catastrophic storms…

I guess I should be happy that I know it’s coming, and when…

But this is fucking bullshit.

I will be SO pissed, if I get flooded again.

I wish there was something we could do…...

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Move @MrGrimm888 !

it will not stop flooding and raining.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I definitely will move, when I can. Been looking. It’s really a great house, but around October, the past two years it’s flooded. For 5 years before then, it didn’t…

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Take care @MrGrimm888 and be safe.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Thanks. I’ll try.

Dutchess_III's avatar

This is one of those rare times that I’m really glad to live in Kansas.

JLeslie's avatar

I’ve been thinking about this. I think we should have a traveling mountainous island that is sent out to slow down hurricanes.

Dutchess_III's avatar

LOL!! We could throw a net around them too!

MrGrimm888's avatar

@JLeslie . Like massive ships, with man made mountains or structures that would disorganize the storms…

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, ships would be on water not anchored to the earth.

UzZiBiKeR's avatar

The ships would have to several miles long and hundreds of feet high to make any difference. In other words, not feasible. If you packed an area with several thousand ships you would end up with a beautiful reef starter as most would be on the ocean floor.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^What man can contemplate, man can achieve.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Or can at least contemplate.

UzZiBiKeR's avatar

Man also falls short on many aspirations.This is one of those times when we cannot beat nature.

Muad_Dib's avatar

Theoretically, if one wanted to stop Gulf-coast hurricanes from happening, and had unlimited resources and /or godlike magic, what one would want to do is build a moderately-sized mountain range about 1000 miles off the western coast of Africa.

If the world were truly a Sim City, we could take the existing Mid-Atlantic Ridge and just +1 the elevation until it broke water by a thousand meters or so.

Alas… not feasible. Also there’s no telling what other havoc that would wreak upon the global climate.

UzZiBiKeR's avatar

This is true Muad but we can’t so we will live with them for now. We have no choice.

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^^ You’re no fun! Where is your imagination?

UzZiBiKeR's avatar

Maybe I’m no fun because I’m a realist. There is nothing wrong in seeing things the way they are. Flights of fancy do no good, for reality must take center stage.

MrGrimm888's avatar

The OP is a realist….

Dutchess_III's avatar

Being a realist and having an imagination are not mutually exclusive. It just makes a person more interesting.

UzZiBiKeR's avatar

I am not interested in being interesting. I’m here to answer questions in the fields I know about. If that makes me ” No fun.” their isn’t much I can say. Humor has it’s place but sometimes it gets in the way of fully answering questions of importance. Believe me my imagination runs wild but does not interfere with reality.

Muad_Dib's avatar

You must be great fun at parties.

UzZiBiKeR's avatar

I don’t go to parties. I’m too busy bowling with friends and taking my girlfriend out to concerts etc.We both love Frightened Rabbit, Angels and Airwaves, Puscifer and The National. There is more to life than parties my friends. I did all the partying in my 20’s and 30’s. I also enjoyed driving my corvettes and mustangs that I restored. It’s all about being with someone you love and someone who loves doing what you do. At my age that is the most important thing to me.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Most of us here don’t do parties either @UzZiBiKeR.

MrGrimm888's avatar

An article in The Telegraph reports 46,000 people in Florida, are supporting the idea of shooting Irma. Yes. They intend to shoot at the storm…

JLeslie's avatar

Lol. Maybe they should shoot ice bullets and cannonballs. Cool the thing down.

Muad_Dib's avatar

Oh Florida…

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well pretty sure they rushed over from Kansas to save y’all.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m so curious to see the 11:00 pm update on the storm track, but I doubt I’ll be awake. Maybe I’ll get a second wind.

The thing slowed down! Ugh. I was really glad it was moving forward at a good clip. Now, it will probably drop more rain.

UzZiBiKeR's avatar

The slower the track the more rain you get. I have friends in Miami and it looks like they lucked out with the wind but will have to deal with storm surge. Since most of Florida is only three feet above sea level and they will be in the North East quadrant as the storm approaches, the surge could be between four and seven feet.

Muad_Dib's avatar

Um, we’re way more than three feet above sea level. My in-laws on the coast are 13 feet up. Here in Brandon we’re 59 feet up.

JLeslie's avatar

@UzZiBiKeR I’m pretty sure I’m about 70 feet above sea level. Where I used to live in Tarpon Springs I think my house was around 20 feet above. Although, I will say Pinellas County sucks when it comes to requirements to prevent flooding. It doesn’t matter if you’re above sea level if the developer does a shitty job of grading around your house, you can live on a mountain and flood.

Anyway, I understand your point that the closer to sea level the more likely to flood, especially near the coast line, but more areas than you think are higher elevation than 3 feet above sea level.

Dutchess_III's avatar

LOL! Pretty sure the Everglades are about 3 feet above sea level, but not the rest of the state!

UzZiBiKeR's avatar

The average height of Florida above sea level is 6 feet. The coast is 3 feet or less in a lot of areas.

UzZiBiKeR's avatar

London is no scientist; he’s a city commissioner in Hallandale Beach, Fla., a municipality of about 37,000 that sits on the Atlantic coast between Fort Lauderdale and Miami. But he talks to scientists and engineers all the time as part of his job, and the story they tell him isn’t pretty. “The average elevation in Florida is 6 feet,” London said. “Some places are as little as 3 feet above sea level. And sea level is going to rise as all that ice in the Arctic melts.”

Muad_Dib's avatar

That’s a meaningless average. We have squillions of miles of coastline, and our peak elevation is over 350 ft.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Apparently their are people that think shooting off guns will cause Irma to turn.

Maybe they didn’t graduate from sixth grade. SMH

JLeslie's avatar

Maybe he meant the average is 6 feet in the most populated places? Or, in his county? Or, some sort of parameter he didn’t state clearly.

Brian1946's avatar

According to this elevation finder, downtown Tampa is about 20 feet above sea level.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The coast is -20 feet in many areas.

UzZiBiKeR's avatar

The coastal area of florida where the majority of people live.

Muad_Dib's avatar

It is simply not a fact that most people live within 6 feet of sea level. I’m sorry, but you’re wrong.

UzZiBiKeR's avatar

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/61/Florida_population_map.png

Tell me I’m wrong. All you have to do is look for pop density in florida.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, the average height of Florida is 6 feet above.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I’m 6’ 5” so I’m good just standing.

Muad_Dib's avatar

No, you’d also have to look at the elevation in those areas.

I live here. I’m not lying.

UzZiBiKeR's avatar

Look my friend, don’t bring a knife to gunfight. I have showed you that the majority of Floridians live next to the coast. That is why people move there. You seem to forget the Keys in your assessment. So I’m not wrong at all. Your presumption is baseless and my friends that live along the coast agree with me. So I’ll put it this way; you don’t know what your talking about. You want to defend the indefensible.
Hurricanes have given people pause about building in South Florida before, but only briefly: A Category 4 storm (hurricanes didn’t get names until 1953) killed 400 people in 1926 and just two years later another Category 4 killed 2,500 people. In response to that catastrophic flooding, the Army Corps of Engineers built the 85-mile long Herbert Hoover Dike. After more storms, Congress approved $208 million in 1948 for the Central and South Florida Flood Control Project, which built 16 major pumping stations and 1,700 miles of canals and levees.

But even if Irma devastates South Florida, people aren’t likely to move away. More recently, Hurricane Andrew ripped Miami to shreds in 1992, and while building codes were strengthened, people rebuilt homes and businesses in the exact spots where they’d stood before the storm.

So how long before Miami could be under water as ice melt accelerates around the globe?

“Given what we know now about how the ocean expands as it warms and how ice sheets and glaciers are adding water to the seas, it’s pretty certain we are locked into at least 3 feet of sea level rise, and probably more,” said Steve Nerem of the University of Colorado, Boulder, and lead of the Sea Level Change Team, a NASA collaboration. “But we don’t know whether it will happen within a century or somewhat longer.”

This map shows what Florida will look like when the sea level rises. Image Courtesy SRTM Team NASA/JPL/NIMA

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article172347252.html

This is Florida with 16.5 foot sea level rise or 5 meters. I said average is 12 feet so I’m off 4.5 feet. I’ll accept that. Will you? Being a geography major I checked mean elevation which is 100 feet. The highest point in Florida is 345 feet but most people live within the 3 to 6 meter range.

http://geology.com/sea-level-rise/florida.shtml

You can adjust for the different sea level rises. I used 5 meters. Notice the Keys are underwater along with most of the coast between Melbourne and Daytona Beach.The map above shows areas of Florida that would be flooded at various stages of sea level rise. You can select a value of sea level rise using the dropdown box in the upper left corner of the map. The navigation buttons can be used to zoom in/out and pan across the map.

The map clearly shows that a sea level rise of only a few meters would inundate thousands of acres of highly developed land and beach communities along Florida’s Atlantic Coast, the Florida Keys, and the Florida Gulf Coast. Significant flooding and environmental change would also be experienced in the Everglades. Zoom in on Tampa Bay, Charlotte Harbor or another area to see the impact of sea level rise in more detail. Florida is a low-elevation state and would feel the impact of sea level rise associated with global climate change much more strongly than other areas.
You are arguing without merit. 3 meters 4 or 5 meters will destroy Florida. Miami is already elevating its roads by 4 feet because of constant flooding at high tide. So, most people live along the coast and as little as a 3.3 foot rise will destroy the economy. It doesn’t matter the highest point in Florida just the vulnerable points.

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