Skip navigation

Category Archives: geo-engineering

This week we entered the start of Hurricane season and like clockwork Tropical Storm Agatha pummeled Central America.  Meteorologists are taking the arrival of Agatha as confirmation for their fears that 2010 will be the worst Hurricane Season since 2005 (the year that bore Katrina).  But the climatological ingredients that could stir up to 14 hurricanes this year are only part the problem.  The earthquake in Haiti displaced thousands of families from urban centers to more rural, landslide-prone areas.  Also nobody is quite sure how the storm will interact with the millions of gallons of oil and dispersants in the Gulf.   The confluence of all these factors makes the 2010 Hurricane season an extremely, anxiously watched storm year.

While most of us are nervously watching the shore, some inventors are dreaming up big ways to stop a hurricane dead in its tracks.  Enter Bill Gates and a team of inventors at Intellectual Ventures.  They hold the patent for a geo-engineering solution to rob a developing storm of its energy.  The idea involves big floating rings bobbing in the path of Hurricane-breeding grounds.  As they bob with the waves they generate energy which they use to pump the hot surface water to the much colder depths below.  Since hot water is the lifeblood of hurricanes, enough of these rings (it would be a lot!) could cool the path enough to sap or even completely drain a storm of its power.

Right now this is just an idea and no one has any plans to make it.  But as the Earth continues to warm, and storm seasons continue getting worse and worse, maybe we will have to turn to big ideas like this.

Check out the video of this storm killer and read more about it at the Intellectual Ventures site.

(Image courtesy of Intellectual Ventures)