What would happen if we nuked a hurricane?

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#1 Posted by MrGeezer (59292 posts) -

With all the talk of hurricanes lately, and additional talk of people shooting at hurricanes, I'm just wondering if it's POSSIBLE for us to destroy one. Granted, I clearly don't think we SHOULD do this, for obvious reasons. But, like, suppose we were really stupid and just wanted to see what would happen if we hit a major hurricane with a few 20 megaton warheads. What would happen?

Would it have no effect?

Would it make the hurricane dissipate?

Would it make the hurricane stronger?

I'm sure that no one knows, but there've gotta be some ideas on what would happen. Some people get paid good money to throw out dumbass ideas like this.

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#2 Posted by SOedipus (10629 posts) -
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#3 Edited by br0kenrabbit (15217 posts) -

Hurricanes have a hell of a lot more energy than a nuclear explosion. Not just that, but the power of a nuclear weapon is expressed in milliseconds.

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#4 Posted by Horgen (117189 posts) -

Where would you explode it? In the eye of it?

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#5 Posted by MrGeezer (59292 posts) -

@br0kenrabbit said:

Hurricanes have a hell of a lot more energy than a nuclear explosion. Not just that, but the power of a nuclear weapon is expressed in milliseconds.

Okay...so how many nuclear explosions would be needed to have an effect?

@horgen said:

Where would you explode it? In the eye of it?

I don't know. Assuming you wanted there to be an effect, where SHOULD you explode it?

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#6 Posted by themajormayor (25711 posts) -

Do it.

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#7 Posted by foxhound_fox (96996 posts) -

When I read the title, all I could think about was this:


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#8 Posted by demi0227_basic (1922 posts) -

It wouldn't really have an effect on the storm, but the radiation would spread everywhere, killing huge amounts of people with cancer. It'd look cool too, I'm sure.

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#9 Edited by Horgen (117189 posts) -

@MrGeezer said:
@br0kenrabbit said:

Hurricanes have a hell of a lot more energy than a nuclear explosion. Not just that, but the power of a nuclear weapon is expressed in milliseconds.

Okay...so how many nuclear explosions would be needed to have an effect?

@horgen said:

Where would you explode it? In the eye of it?

I don't know. Assuming you wanted there to be an effect, where SHOULD you explode it?

Anywhere but the eye I guess.

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#10 Posted by GTR12 (12951 posts) -

Go ahead America, do it, I'm sure you can convince Donald to do it, the rest of the world will be watching lounging out in our deckchairs eating popcorn.

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#11 Posted by lamprey263 (35005 posts) -

I've always been curious if Red Bull will send one of their promotional stuntmen into a tornado in a wing suit... won't ever drink that shit, but that'd be cool to see if the person ever makes it out of there alive with their GoPro footage.

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#12 Posted by EPICCOMMANDER (1109 posts) -

Yeah, let's just send all that fallout into the atmosphere. Great idea.

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#13 Posted by MrGeezer (59292 posts) -

@demi0227_basic said:

It wouldn't really have an effect on the storm, but the radiation would spread everywhere, killing huge amounts of people with cancer. It'd look cool too, I'm sure.

I'm sure it'd do something if you detonated enough warheads. People are constantly saying that the entire world's nuclear arsenal is enough to change the global climate and eradicate humanity, I have a very hard time believing that it wouldn't have any effect on ONE hurricane.

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#14 Edited by LexLas (7270 posts) -

@MrGeezer said:

With all the talk of hurricanes lately, and additional talk of people shooting at hurricanes, I'm just wondering if it's POSSIBLE for us to destroy one. Granted, I clearly don't think we SHOULD do this, for obvious reasons. But, like, suppose we were really stupid and just wanted to see what would happen if we hit a major hurricane with a few 20 megaton warheads. What would happen?

Would it have no effect?

Would it make the hurricane dissipate?

Would it make the hurricane stronger?

I'm sure that no one knows, but there've gotta be some ideas on what would happen. Some people get paid good money to throw out dumbass ideas like this.

OK First of all how would you get the nuke to stay put in the middle ? Also what if the nuke made the hurricane turn into a hell fire hurricane ? You might end our entire world man.

@SOedipus great find man, he puts it into science and lets us know how stupid we are for thinking such things, lol

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#15 Edited by demi0227_basic (1922 posts) -

@MrGeezer said:
@demi0227_basic said:

It wouldn't really have an effect on the storm, but the radiation would spread everywhere, killing huge amounts of people with cancer. It'd look cool too, I'm sure.

I'm sure it'd do something if you detonated enough warheads. People are constantly saying that the entire world's nuclear arsenal is enough to change the global climate and eradicate humanity, I have a very hard time believing that it wouldn't have any effect on ONE hurricane.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/11/hurricanes-weather-history-nuclear-weapons/

It's all about the energy. Nuclear fallout is entirely different.

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#16 Posted by MrGeezer (59292 posts) -

@demi0227_basic said:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/11/hurricanes-weather-history-nuclear-weapons/

It's all about the energy. Nuclear fallout is entirely different.

"In order to shrink a Category 5 hurricane into a Category 2 hurricane, you would have to add about a half ton of air for each square yard inside the eye, or a total of a bit more than half a billion (500,000,000) tons for an eye 25 miles in diameter. “It’s difficult to envision a practical way of moving that much air around,” NOAA says."

So, hypothetically speaking, how much air would be added if we nuked a category 5 with the entire world's nuclear arsenal?

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#17 Edited by jun_aka_pekto (23421 posts) -

@MrGeezer said:

With all the talk of hurricanes lately, and additional talk of people shooting at hurricanes, I'm just wondering if it's POSSIBLE for us to destroy one. Granted, I clearly don't think we SHOULD do this, for obvious reasons. But, like, suppose we were really stupid and just wanted to see what would happen if we hit a major hurricane with a few 20 megaton warheads. What would happen?

Would it have no effect?

Would it make the hurricane dissipate?

Would it make the hurricane stronger?

I'm sure that no one knows, but there've gotta be some ideas on what would happen. Some people get paid good money to throw out dumbass ideas like this.

Hurricanes derive their power from warm ocean waters. The warmness promotes upward vertical lift while the water provides the fuel. The Earth's spin and Coriolis Effect do the rest. So long as the Earth spins and the hurricane is over warm waters, it'll keep going. Aside from cooler waters and land, the only force which can weaken a hurricane is another hurricane in close proximity.

I suppose if a few nukes superheated the waters below, that would just add to the upper vertical lift. But, a hurricane spans several hundred miles. A nuke explosion would barely be a pin prick.

A shock wave from a giant asteroid impact might disrupt a hurricane for a short time.

As for nuclear warheads, I think the numbers are way down now compared to the Cold War years.

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#18 Posted by Shewgenja (19510 posts) -

You'd percolate radioactive material through the storm system irradiating everywhere the hurricane goes as well as belch material into the upper atmosphere where the fallout would go wherever the high altitude wind streams carry it.

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#19 Posted by DaVillain- (28357 posts) -

Wait, we can actually Nuke a Hurricane?

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#20 Edited by Sam3231 (2059 posts) -

I tried this in Red Alert 2 and was not successful. I dropped a nuke on a weather storm that was ravaging my base and it simply ignored the storm, dropping through the clouds and blew up my base.

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#21 Posted by demi0227_basic (1922 posts) -

@davillain- said:

Wait, we can actually Nuke a Hurricane?

Yeah...we can nuke pretty much anything. What would prevent us from sending a nuke into the eye of a hurricane?

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#22 Posted by Master_Live (18821 posts) -

Well, we needed to test this before Maria reached Puerto Rico. Now it is to late for us and Florida isn't worth saving lol.

I kid I kid.

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#23 Posted by stuff238 (2782 posts) -

It would create a nukenado.

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#24 Edited by bfa1509 (1051 posts) -

@jun_aka_pekto said:

Hurricanes derive their power from warm ocean waters. The warmness promotes upward vertical lift while the water provides the fuel. The Earth's spin and Coriolis Effect do the rest. So long as the Earth spins and the hurricane is over warm waters, it'll keep going. Aside from cooler waters and land, the only force which can weaken a hurricane is another hurricane in close proximity.

I suppose if a few nukes superheated the waters below, that would just add to the upper vertical lift. But, a hurricane spans several hundred miles. A nuke explosion would barely be a pin prick.

A shock wave from a giant asteroid impact might disrupt a hurricane for a short time.

As for nuclear warheads, I think the numbers are way down now compared to the Cold War years.

If we put enough nukes on the moon and blew them up in a way that they would slow down the earths spin then this would reduce the Coriolis Effect, thus stopping/reducing the power of hurricanes. Problem Solved!

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#25 Edited by tocool340 (21185 posts) -

I'd imagine it being like throwing a water balloon at a high power fan. It would probably cause a slight disruption to the fans rotation speed but it would ultimately just end up having all its contents ejected to the four winds. Meaning we'd be trading one disaster for another, if not simply adding more to the original problem....

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#26 Posted by JustPlainLucas (78127 posts) -

@stuff238 said:

It would create a nukenado.

Someone get SyFy on the line!

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#27 Edited by MrGeezer (59292 posts) -

I'm getting conflicting answers here. Some people are saying that we could stop the hurricane (or at least reduce a category 5 down to a category 2) IN PRINCIPLE if we threw enough energy at it.

Others are saying that nuking hurricanes (regardless of the amount of energy we throw at it) would have no effect.

So...which is it?

Let's change the parameters a bit and assume that we hit a category 5 hurricane with the entire world's current nuclear arsenal. How close would that come to having ANY effect on the hurricane?