Is This Person Nuts Or Not? Opinions Needed

I think it's stupid.

So you're going to dump absorbent material in a cat 4 hurricane. I think it's kind of like dumping a tanker load of dry ice in the Hiroshima mushroom cloud.
I can't believe that is even a news story. Nobody is going to let this guy use a plane worth tens of millions of dollars.

How much water does he think is in a hurricane...a few thousand tons? Guess what, there is a lot more water than that.
Think liability insurance is up to date if he caused more damage? Mess with natuer and it could bite you in the end

Maybe they could drop the tornado vehicle in it too
Originally posted by Jason_Politte+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Jason_Politte)</div>
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I need your thoughts on this article:

This person is going to try and \"weaken\" Hurricane Ivan.


While I won't question the man's sanity regarding this, I think the real question is if he pulls this off and Ivan does weaken after the fact, how will we know whether or not it was a result of the absorbent material or just natural processes?

Jason Politte[/b]

I agree... But think of the stories he can tell.. I made Ivan the Terrible weaker.
I'm betting this won't happen for a couple of reasons:

(1) Lawsuits from Florida residents thinking the seeding made things worse. Evergreen has $540 million in assets and they'd be the ones the lawyers would go after.

(2) Risk to the airplane. Evergreen states this in their 10-K filing: Substantial claims resulting from an accident could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and could affect our ability to obtain insurance in the future. We have had a favorable claim experience and believe we enjoy a good reputation with our insurance providers.

For both reasons I think this proposal would have to be peer reviewed to even be considered by an insurer for protection against legal/property damage, and somehow I don't think that is forthcoming. I think the only way the guy could pull this off is if he dry-leased his own airplane and hired his own crew and support people, but that would be extremely expensive.

Compared to the cab driver who thinks he can tear a hole in the wall of a tornado using a $50 million particle beam, this guy actually seems quite sane.... :roll:

Weather modification to me seems like a lose/lose situation. If the storm weakens, everyone will say it would have done it on its own. If the storm gets stronger, everyone will say it's the seeder's fault. Seems like all that money could be better spent on shelters and infrastructure.
First of all, if a 747 can crash in a 100-mph microburst, how will it survive flying through the part of hurricane where winds could be near 200? (of course, that's making the rash assumption that the guy can GET the plane.)

But second, absorbent stuff being whirled around in the storm isn't going to block the water vapor coming off the ocean, into the storm — it'd keep going while it still had inflow.

And wouldn't the powder just get blown out the top of the storm pretty quickly anyway?

The whole story just sounds like an ad for the powder stuff, and if this was a serious attempt at hurricane modification it needs much more thinking through.
As far as the first question, shear is the main culprit, i.e. the plane is configured for 130 kt, the aircraft-relative winds subside by 50 kt, and the plane then experiences 80 kt and stalls. What would get an airplane is horizontal shear that puts the plane outside of its flight envelope, or severe turbulence. I don't think hurricanes are particularly severe for turbulence as the Hurricane Hunter flights seem to get in and out regularly without incident. However it's possible that an off-the-shelf 747 may not be designed to handle the kind of sustained upper-end moderate turbulence that a Hurricane Hunter would.

Not sure about the other questions.

Evergreen Aviation's 747 is a modified 747 designed to be a supercarrier of fire retardant for fighting western US forest fires - it is built to handle flight parameter stresses a bit heavier than the normal 747.

As for the ability to influence the cane, you have here the issue of introduction of aerosols sufficient to dehydrate a large enough parcel of the atmosphere to cause the hurricane to choke a bit on some dry air.

The plane would have to fly in at the optimal altitude at the right distance from the eye to give the treated air time to get the most drying effect before it is sucked into the eye of the storm.

At best you are talking about a fairly narrow band several miles long of treated air, as every time the aircraft turned to make another pass, it would be dealing with a fresh batch of air.

I don't think it would matter over the period of a day or so at all, it can take a parcel of several hundred cubic miles of dry air to really impact a big storm.
Is this the same company that proposed the idea of spreading a thin layer of biodegradable material on the ocean surface, to prevent moisture transfer? That idea actually seemed better than their current plan of attack, but you would have still to cover a large area of the ocean.

I for one am against weather control - There is obviously a reason why hurricanes occur in nature, or else they wouldn't exist. Perhaps the upwelling in the ocean keeps SSTs in check (which in turn would keep storm strength in check), or maybe there is some kind of "potential energy" which hasn't been discovered yet, and is released through very intense storms...

Just a thought...

EDIT: Nevermind, I just read through the articles in the above post, so you can forget my question in the first 'paragraph'...
This person is going to try and \"weaken\" Hurricane Ivan.

Sounds like something those fools from Wild Boyz would do as one of their incredible stunts.

Interesting :?
They're getting the press, gotta hand them that.

They were on Fox News this afternoon talking about it. I didn't get to actually listen as I was in the gym.. but I just shook my head and laughed.
Anti-Ivan powder

Suppose he uses 250 tonnes of the powder and it obsorbes 4,000 times its weight....that would be 10^6 (one million cubic metres of water). A circle of troposphere 360 km in diameter with 60 mm of precipitatable water contains 6*10^9 cubic metres of water. Taking away 10^6 cubic metres of this water takes away 1/6000 th of the total water....big deal. If the residence time of the water in the hurricane is about 1 day (it is probably less) the 10^6 cubic metres of water would be replaced in about 14 seconds.

If the water soaked up is already in liquid form, Ivan has already obtained its latent heat.

Not sure if this guy is crazy, but he might want to spend some time with the mathamatics of this experiment.
Don't knock it 'til you try it

First, I do agree that these ideas show that these folks have far too much money and time on their hands, but... who knows, you can't blame a guy for trying ideas even if they do seem rediculous.

And let's not jump too quick... for we too have our "tornado tank", the team who drove right into the heart of what we still don't know if it were a tornado or gustnado or anti-cyclonic, etc. etc., and then we have Warren Faidley... who makes a LIVING at doing this weather stuff... who'd a "thunk" it.

Who knows, it this guy does get the plane, I wonder who will get more glory, the idea creator, or the pilot who's dumb enough to fly the thing into a Cat-5 Hurricane ??? :wink:
Yeh, this one is just *too* good to pass up.

There are so many flaws with this experiment, I probably won't remember all of them before I hit the reply button.

1.) From personal correspondence with several hurricane hunters plus my own knowledge of aviation meteorology, turbulence is greatest in towering cumulus...and can be severe or extreme in glaciated Tcu. A 747 would be ripped to shreds anywhere in the vicinity of the CDO (central dense overcast). The hurricane hunter aircraft are specially designed to handle the turbulence of a hurricane, which can be quite extreme -- just ask the hundreds of media people who thought they were going on a joy ride only to puke their guts out.

2.) Rainfall is a byproduct of any storm system, not a cause. Hurricanes get their energy from the latent heat released by condensation of water vapor. Dyno-O-Mat's absorbent materials appear to work on liquids, which therefore should have no negative impact on a hurricane. If the goal is to stop flooding, then to extreme extent they may be onto something. However, it is my opinion that "absorbing" the rain would actually INTENSIFY the hurricane. By removing any evaporative cooling processes induced by rainfall, you increase the instability and latent heat available.

3.) Ignoring issue #2, the amount of liquid water removed by the amount of absorbent that could be loaded safely onto a 747 (accounting for fuel and several passengers), would only remove but a small fraction of liquid water content inside the hurricane at any given point. This math is proven quite nicely by Mr. Rivers. At the rate precipitation is generated inside even a minimal hurricane, this effect would be overwhelmed and offset in a matter of seconds to several minutes.

4.) As stated before, good luck getting the airplane. A small feat in itself.

5.) Would the goal not to be to remove the SOURCE of a hurricane's energy, not the byproduct? Maybe inflatable mountains? :) I too thought the idea of "covering" the ocean seemed slightly more logical, although it does raise the question of what a nearly non-frictional surface would do and how it would affect boundary layer instability. Recall hurricane Danny which actually strengthened over the southeast US where ambient conditions were very tropical and the lack of terrain relief provided few obstacles to weaken the system.

6.) If the feat was by some miracle successful, defying all laws of physics, removing much needed rainfall from drought stricken inland areas could result in unforseen lawsuits by farmers, etc... Just another twist on the liability issue.

Having spent many months of my life (including the past week) in Florida, I found it most amusing that "Dyno-Mite" claims to have stopped a thunderstorm back in early tests a couple years ago. Anyone who lives in SE FL can tell you that on a given day dozens of pulse shower/thunderstorm cells develop and collapse in < 30 minutes given little to no ambient wind shear. A look at satellite/radar data back on the day of their "successful test" shows an innoculous shower that would have fallen apart anyways.

Just some food for thought,
If a P3, C130, and G4 can take a hurricane routinely, im sure a 747 can.

Especially at high altitude, where the winds are lighter inside a hurricane.

but how exactly does one empty 200 tons of material out of a 747 at flight levels? Put on an oxygen mask, open the door, and start tossing bags out?
Having gone through 25 hours of ground school (curriculum for the written pilot exam); I can tell you right now that a fully loaded 747-100/200 would be pushed down like a racket hitting a ball. A Jumbo Jet is just too heavy against that kind of wind shear. There wouldn't be enough lift to keep the thing up at a reasonable altitude. Even if they could keep it in the air, the engines would most likely quit under the gross amount of stress they would be put through. Note that turbine engines are a lot more complicated to run and keep running then your regular turboprop engines on the Hurricane Hunters.

However, If they intend to fly above the Hurricane, it might just work (I mean the flying part). Though I still have a lot of doubts about it. Reason being, we were taught to stay FAR away from any strong meteorological disturbance. It's just too hard to fly an aircraft not modified for those kind of conditions. To many things could happen at a moments notice. The most likely to go wrong is pilot error. Unless they are crack airforce pilots, I doubt they have done this kind of thing before.

Here, I pulled out my aircraft encyclopedia to show you the major weight difference between the 2 most common Hurricane Hunters and the 747-100/200. Note that the 747 tanker will be somewhat heavier fully loaded and modified. This will show how much more difficult it will be to fly it in or around a Hurricane.

Max take off weight for each aircraft:

Boeing 747-100/200: 600,000 pounds (272,155 kilograms)
Lockheed WC-130: 155,000 pounds (69,750 kilograms)
Lockheed P-3 Orion: 139,760 pounds (63,394.1 kilograms)
Originally posted by MClarkson

Especially at high altitude, where the winds are lighter inside a hurricane.

True, since hurricanes are warm core systems, the strongest winds in the system are at the top of the boundary layer, which is about 500 m above sea level out over open water. The winds steadily decrease from there up. Hurricane hunter aircraft fly up around 3,000 m (~700 mb), and the winds are still fairly potent at this height. I presume though, that the experiment proposed here would be much higher up, say around 10,000 m, and the winds there will be much, much weaker. Also, relatively limited buoyancy is present in hurricane environments, and peaks down around 700 mb, so vertical velocities will not be as extreme at that altitude. It probably will still be turbulent, as gravity waves will be likely, but I'd be surprised if a 747 wasn't structurally sound enough to handle it.

As for the experiment, also agree with what was earlier suggested - probably would have minimal impact on the hurricane, but the concept of weather modification should not be discounted wholesale, and sometimes you need to think outside the box to come up with good ideas. The HRD spent years trying to think up with ways to modify hurricanes, and came up with nothing effective.