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Japanese company hopes use submarines to subdue incoming typhoons

By

September 27, 2010

Could submarines be used to stop typhoons? (Photo: Georgio40)

Could submarines be used to stop typhoons? (Photo: Georgio40)

We usually accept it as a given that we can't change the weather. When it comes to extreme situations like hurricanes or earthquakes, such disasters are labeled "acts of god" because we generally feel helpless to in the face of nature's wrath. But recently an ambitious Japanese manufacturing firm Ise Kogyo has boldly claimed that they can help weaken the impact of typhoons. And even more surprising, the company's weapon of choice is the submarine.

In principle, the premise appears sound. Typhoons generally require warmer water temperatures at surface level before they become dangerous, typically around 25 degrees. So when typhoons develop, the theory is that a fleet of submarines equipped with 20m-long water pumps can deliver colder water to the surface, thus bringing the surface temperature down by two or three degrees and weakening the storm.

According to the company, 20 submarines could cover an area of about 57,000 square meters and they would be deployed into a typhoons path once initial signs of an oncoming typhoon are evident.

This solution has been proposed as far back as 2002, but we have yet to see it practically implemented to date. First of all, submarines are hardly a dime a dozen and to set 20 of them aside for typhoon prevention would be no easy task.

More practical proposals involving the use of surface vessels to bring up cool water have been put forth before as well, though they are admittedly far less awesome than the submarine idea. But re-purposing military ships that patrol key areas might be the only way to bring such a "pipe dream" to fruition.

These aspirations to control the weather may remind our Asian readers of China's pre-Olympic efforts to create blue skies as well as subsequent struggles to induce rain amid summer droughts that plagues the agriculture industry there.

The latter procedure is called cloud seeding, and it typically involves dusting clouds with a silver compound in order to bring about the formation of rain droplets. In the past however, China's rainmaker program drew as much attention for its inadvertent stray rockets as for its ambitious scope.

Earlier this year Gizmag also reported on a Swiss team working in cloud seeding who, rather than use silver compounds, opted to induce water droplet formation using infrared light.

It remains to be seen whether or not programs like these will ever make the transition from experimental to common technologies that contribute to our safety and our quality of living. But for now, it is exciting to hear even talk of how humans might gain some mastery over the weather. With extreme weather patterns becoming more and more frequent (thanks global warming!) we're going to need every advantage we can get.

Via Asiajin

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9 Comments

The HUGE water shift is not impossible nor stupid - as far as ideas go, it's just destratifying a HUGE surface area of ocean by an upwelling of colder water, I would imagine (without the calculations to get a clear idea of it) that the MASS of cold water, and the area and volume, of it to be percolated, would be rather HUGE....

Granted that one CAN destratify a large lake or dam to bring to cold water up and the oxygenated surface layer/s down, with little more than a small compressor.... and enough time.

But I'd imagine that you would want to quickly chill an area of water at least 100Km in diameter to knock the wind out of the storm....

Easier said than done.

Mr Stiffy
27th September, 2010 @ 06:06 pm PDT

This whole article is ridiculous, especially the notion of man being able to control the weather.

iamwho2k
27th September, 2010 @ 08:12 pm PDT

Global Warming is real and so is Excess CO2 emissions. The problem with excess CO2 emissions is their effect on Ocean chemistry. The stratification of the worlds Oceans has effected the solubility pump causing CO2 to enter as Carbonic acid. The Oceans are in dire straights the Southern Ocean gives off more CO2 than it sequesters. The Oceans are becoming more acidic. New Dead zones appear yearly. The stratification is preventing natural upwelling starving phytoplankton of needed nutrients. If the phytoplankton succumbs to the elevated temperatures and elevated acidity we will struggle to survive.

I have a solution to both problems. We have patented a Mechanically Produced Thermocline Ocean Temperature Regulatory System using our patented turbine design. We propose to pump cold water to the surface to promote Phytoplankton growth. The resulting cold water thermocline will cool the air resulting in lower temperatures.

Laura@royalwindturbines.com

Royal
28th September, 2010 @ 07:24 am PDT

Interesting concept on changing or eliminating the formation of hurricanes. They may be more steerable than stoppable. Many storms form that are relatively harmless because of location at sea with no landfall. To make this more possible I think an older technology which has interesting promise might be used for this purpose.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_thermal_energy_conversion

Ocean thermal energy conversion could use the very heat from the heated water that creates the hurricanes to possibly stop or steer them.

napaeric
28th September, 2010 @ 08:44 am PDT

It is very easy to alter weather. It is the "butterfly effect". Very small forces can have a huge effect on natural events like weather, if you apply them to the correct tipping point.

Whether or not it is such a good idea to start tinkering wholesale with things like weather, is another question however.

Changing thermal gradients in the oceans could have all sort of catastrophic effects we can't even begin to predict.

It does not take submarines or pumps even, but just deflection vanes anchored in currents, by chains.

Rigby5
28th September, 2010 @ 09:58 am PDT

Rather than using expensive submarines, it would make sense to use something a lot cheaper like these wave powered pumps:

http://www.smartplanet.com/people/video/busting-hurricanes-with-ocean-cooling-pumps/402178/

Michaelc
28th September, 2010 @ 11:22 am PDT

Um, I hate to point out the obvious but even if the equipment to do it can be built, it is not something that you want to do. Typhoons and hurricanes are a critically important heat transport mechanism the moves excess thermal energy from the tropic to the poles. If we're suffering from global warming, suppressing them is the last thing you want to do.

Typhoons are not the problem, they are a symptom. Whoever thought this up is not looking at the big picture--or maybe they don't understand the function of tropical cyclones.

CaptNemo
28th September, 2010 @ 05:53 pm PDT

The weather has already been controlled by the secret military establishments. Just search "Weather War" and you will be surprised how much is hidden from view.

JC
28th September, 2010 @ 07:32 pm PDT

Yes this is a fast way to avoid effects of global warming. But in the long run, this is still so much inadequate.

We need some great ideas to sequester 50% atmospheric CO2 in years to come. THEN THAT IS THE FUTURE.

Akemai Olivia
29th September, 2010 @ 02:11 pm PDT
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