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Can we stop a hurricane?

Satellite photo of Hurricane Katrina in 2005
Handout, Getty

Now that we’ve been through Harvey and Irma and Jose still lingers in the Atlantic, here’s a question, can we stop or control hurricanes?  Could we stop or alter one from outer space?

The answer is no!  Even though there were some folks in Florida that thought shooting guns at the storm would turn it around, experts say there is no way to turn around a hurricane.

“We have no real idea how to control weather in the sense of a hurricane,” John Moore, a scientist at Beijing Normal University, told Space.com. “All that realistically can be done is changing the thermodynamics of the system, which largely means changing the sea-surface temperatures.”

The closest thing that anyone has come up with is to surround the Earth with mirrors or shades that would reflect away light, but estimates in the 1980’s were that it would cost $10 trillion. But that would just lower the temperature; it wouldn’t offer direct control of hurricanes.

Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University says to keep hurricanes manageable, we’ll probably just have to reduce carbon emissions and get carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.  Want to learn more, check out this article from Space.com.

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