Saturday, June 15, 2013

Discovery News on hacking tornadoes

In Hacking the Planet, I reviewed how The Weather Channel handled proposals to geoengineer away weather threats.
The episodes I watched dealt with ideas on how to deal with hurricanes and tornadoes.  The good news is that the show seems to be treating the science and scientists seriously as well as presenting the material enertainingly.  The consequence is that the hosts are coming to fairly realistic assessments of current capabilities, i.e., so far most of the ideas are a long way from fruition.  They're also realizing that a lot of the ideas are 1950s and 1960s technological optimism updated, and so they treat them with the proper levels of skepticism.  Finally, all the ideas quickly run up against the limits of prediction.  For a hurricane, that's a few days.  For a tornado, it's a matter of minutes.
Discovery News covered the same territory last week in How To Stop a Tornado.

As those living in America's heartland have long known- tornados are not a force to be reckoned with, or are they? Trace looks at whether drastic measures actually stop a killer tornado in it's tracks.
Trace isn't optimistic, either, and for the same reasons.  Instead, the best bets are to improve prediction and storm shelters.


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