London, May 5: Weather modification experts have suggested that the goal of hurricane fighters should be to re-route the approaching storms and ease their fury, rather than try to stop them forming in the first place.
According to a report in New Scientist, this suggestion has come as a result of findings at an American Meteorological Society meeting on weather modification in Westminster, Colorado, in the US. In the 1960s and early 1970s, scientists on "Project Stormfury" tried in vain to disrupt the inner structure of hurricanes by seeding them with silver iodide crystals.
Various other far-fetched ideas to neutralise storms have been mooted since then, such as cooling the ocean surface. More recently, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) asked a Stormfury veteran called Joe Golden, who's now at the University of Colorado at Boulder, to gather experts to evaluate prospects for taming hurricanes.
According to Golden's group, aiming to stop storms altogether needs careful consideration. "Hurricanes serve a useful purpose in the Earth's energy budget and rainfall from tropical cyclones is a vital component of the regional water supply," the researchers said. "Diverting storms and weakening them should be the aim," they added. The group has now requested 2.6 million dollars from the DHS over three years to study how this might be achieved.