27th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology


A device to control sea surface temperature and effects on hurricane intensity

Philip W. Kithil, Atmocean, Inc., Santa Fe, NM

Of the known variables affecting hurricane intensity, sea surface temperature (SST) is perhaps the most controllable. A device has been prototyped which pumps 1 km deep ocean water to the surface to reduce the SST during hurricane season. The device can be disabled when not needed. Large numbers of these devices can be economically deployed in a region such as the Gulf of Mexico. The prototype device consists of a buoy, and a 1 meter diameter x 1000 meter long polyethylene tube and heavy rigid base with controllable valve. Upon deployment the heavy rigid base sinks and the tube fills with seawater entering through the open valve in the rigid base. Once deployed, the buoy provides pumping action from passing waves. On wave down-slopes the buoy allows the tube and heavy base to drop and the valve opens, capturing 1 km-deep seawater in the base. On wave up-slopes the valve closes, pumping the deep seawater toward the surface where it is ejected just below the buoy. Assuming one-meter wave height and five-second wave period, at 60% efficiency the device can pump approximately 13,000 cubic meters of cold seawater to the surface over 24 hours. One complete cycle would take about 140 minutes. Further assuming a temperature difference of 18 ºC between the surface and 1000 m and 25% conductive loss during each cycle, we predict the surface water can be cooled up to -6.75 ºC. extending outward and downward tens of meters from the buoy. Preliminary temperature data employing a smaller prototype (0.25 m diameter x 60 m length) were used to create a model predicting the ability to reduce hurricane intensity when devices are spaced 100 meters apart. Tethering adjacent devices would provide a “sea-anchor” effect to counteract movement from surface and sub-surface currents. A command can be sent to put the valve in an “open” state thereby disabling pumping by some or all devices, allowing precise control over SST. wrf recording  Recorded presentation

Session 3B, Tropical Cyclone Intensity I
Monday, 24 April 2006, 1:30 PM-3:00 PM, Regency Grand BR 1-3

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