Another Look at an Unorthodox Hurricane-Prevention Idea
Very interesting backgrounder on Stephen Salter, the British scientist who, in the course of trying to turn ocean waves into electric power, discovered a potential way to prevent, or at least limit, the impact of hurricanes:
Devastating tropical storms of the kind that battered the U.S. last week could be weakened and rendered less deadly using a simple and cheap technology based on a surprising component – old car tyres.
One of Britain’s leading marine engineers, Stephen Salter, emeritus professor of engineering design at Edinburgh university and a global pioneer of wave power research, has patented with Microsoft billionaires Bill Gates and Nathan Myhrvold the idea of using thousands of tyres lashed together to support giant plastic tubes which extend 100m deep into the ocean.
Wave action on the ocean surface would force warm surface water down into the deeper ocean. If non-return valves were used, he says, the result would be to mix the waters and cool the surface temperature of the ocean to under 26.5C, the critical temperature at which hurricanes form.
This is the same hurricane-prevention invention we discussed in a brief Freakonomics Radio segment and in greater depth in SuperFreakonomics: