Reducing hurricane intensity by cooling the upper mixed layer using arrays of Atmocean, Inc.'s wave-driven upwelling pumps
Philip W. Kithil, Atmocean, Inc., Santa Fe, NM; and I. Ginis
Most climate scientists now agree that global warming will increase the intensity of tropical cyclones. It is natural to ask if any technology is able to weaken these increasingly powerful storms before landfall. Given that hurricane tracking forecasts are accurate only a few days ahead, could the technology be correctly positioned soon enough? Would the storm veer off, hitting a different region? What are the unintended environmental consequences? Is any approach technically feasible and make sense from an economics perspective?
Hurricane intensity is strongly linked to upper ocean heat content. Mathematical models show that arrays of Atmocean's wave-driven upwelling pumps could cool the upper ocean by up to several degrees C., reducing the evaporative energy to the hurricane, and lowering peak winds by 5% to 20%. Since hurricane wind damages are proportional to the cube of windspeed, this reduction in peak wind suggests that losses caused by high winds could be reduced up to 50%. Additional savings could accrue if the storm surge is lessened, thereby reducing losses caused by flooding.
By relying on wave kinetic energy as the power source, the Atmocean wave-driven upwelling pumps naturally self-calibrate due to the much larger waves generated by a storm.
Atmocean's upwelling arrays would be positioned beginning at 250 meters depth along the Gulf and East coast, and extend seaward in a band about 150 km wide.
If Atmocean arrays had been in position ten years ago, our storm track analysis shows they could have intercepted and quite likely reduced the intensity of 84% of US-landfalling hurricanes.Recorded presentation
Session 2, New Unconventional Concepts and Legal Ramifications
Monday, 21 April 2008, 10:30 AM-12:10 PM, Standley I
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