According to Axios news, United States President Donald Trump made comments about the use of nuclear weapons to disperse hurricanes, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says that a move like that would have severe adverse consequences. The news site claims that Trump inquired with a number of national security officials about such an option, however, the President has denied ever having made the suggestion.
The U.S east coast usually suffers from hurricanes which often result in significant destruction. This is not the first time the notion of using nukes to destroy hurricanes has been contemplated.
After reports of Trump’s alleged suggestion, the hashtag #ThatsHowTheApocalypseStarted has been trending on social media platform Twitter.
Why using nukes would be a bad idea
Axios said that Trump asked why the United States couldn’t send a nuke into the eye of a hurricane to prevent it from reaching land. According to the NOAA, nuclear weapons “might not even alter the storm” and the “radioactive fallout would fairly quickly move with the tradewinds to affect land areas”.
One of the challenges with using explosives to redirect or subdue a hurricane is the quantity of energy that would be required. A hurricane’s heat release is the same as a 10 megaton nuclear bomb going off every 20 minutes.
Although the mechanical energy of such a bomb is similar to the energy of the storm, “the task of focusing even half of the energy on a spot in the middle of a remote ocean would be formidable” says the NOAA. “Attacking weak tropical waves or depressions before they have a chance to grow into hurricanes isn’t promising either,” the administration added. “About 80 of these disturbances form every year in the Atlantic basin but only about five become hurricanes in a typical year. There is no way to tell in advance which ones will develop.”
The initial thought of dropping a bomb on a hurricane originated from a government scientist in the 1950s. The NOAA says the concept is brought up a lot around hurricane season.