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. Protestors hold a sign that reads "Respect Democracy Our Vote Matters"
    Equity

    The Conservative Backlash Against Progressive Ballot Measures

    In many states, ballot initiatives on expanding Medicaid, limiting gerrymandering, and raising the minimum wage swept to victory in November. Now lawmakers are doing their best to reverse them.

  2. Transportation

    You Can’t Design Bike-Friendly Cities Without Considering Race and Class

    Bike equity is a powerful tool for reducing inequality. Too often, cycling infrastructure is tailored only to wealthy white cyclists.

  3. Amazon HQ2

    Without Amazon HQ2, What Happens to Housing in Queens?

    The arrival of the tech company’s new headquarters was set to shake up the borough’s real estate market, driving up rents and spurring displacement. Now what?

  4. Life

    The Town Where Retirees Can’t Retire

    In fast-aging pockets of rural America, older residents are going back to work. But not always because they need the money.

  5. a photo of people sunbathing on a hot summer day in Central Park in New York City
    Environment

    The New York City of 2080 Will Be as Hot as Arkansas

    A new study finds the climate “twin city” for hundreds of places across the United States.