NASA Goddard Photo/Flickr

The answer lies in Marine Cloud Brightening, exactly what it sounds like.

As Republicans weigh the chances of rain on their parade, and researchers in Miami test an $8 million wind simulator, scientists at the University of Leeds have figured out a way to weaken hurricanes.

The study, by John Latham, Ben Parkes, Alan Gadian and Steven Salter, was published today in Atmospheric Science Letters, and the idea seems surprisingly simple - though execution may be years away. Hurricanes acquire energy from the heat of the surface of the sea, so the researchers set out to lower the temperature of the sea surface. To do so, they propose using a technique called "cloud-seeding," the man-made creation of clouds on display at the Beijing Olympics that soaked rural areas of China to keep the opening ceremony dry.

Unmanned vehicles spray tiny droplets of sea-water over hurricane-prone sea zones, whose rise through the atmosphere increases the density of existing stratocumulus clouds. Denser clouds would reflect the sun's light and heat back into the stratosphere, keeping the ocean in the shade. Ocean temperatures could then drop by as much a few degrees, decreasing the potential energy sources for hurricanes, and sapping their strength. It's a localized application of a technique called Marine Cloud Brightening, which has been proposed as a tool to fight global warming.

H/T ScienceBlog.

Top image courtesy of Flickr user NASA Goddard Photo.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. POV

    Why the Future Looks Like Pittsburgh

    The city’s rise as a global innovation city reflects decades of investment in emerging technology, a new Brookings report says.

  2. Transportation

    An App For Democratizing Street Design

    So far, tech companies have been determining how driverless cars will fit into the grid. ReStreet invites you to weigh in.

  3. People are pictured dancing in a bar.
    Civic Life

    How to Be a Good 'Night Mayor'

    New York is the first major American city to create an official body to oversee nightlife. Here’s what it can learn from the European cities that have tried it so far.

  4. Life

    The History of Sears Predicts Nearly Everything Amazon Is Doing

    One hundred years ago, a retail giant that shipped millions of products by mail moved swiftly into the brick-and-mortar business, changing it forever. Is that happening again?

  5. Life

    Where New York City Is Going Next

    In part two of our interview with Dan Doctoroff, the former deputy mayor of economic development and current CEO of Sidewalk Labs shares his thoughts on zoning, transportation, technology, and President Trump.