Technology Hurricane

Published on November 7th, 2012 | by No Artificial

Damage from Hurricane Sandy Could Have Been Avoided

Professor Stephen Salter of the University of Edinburgh believes that his device made from recycled car tires could prevent the formation of devastating storms such as Hurricane Sandy.

Hurricanes are areas of extreme low pressure that form over warm ocean waters. The source of their strength is water vapor which evaporates from the ocean surfaces, fueling the storm with the latent heat of condensation.

Reducing super-storms dangerous potential is possible if we can just cool off the surface of the ocean.

Professor Stephen Salter’s device built from recycled car tires would form wave-powered pumps that could blend the warm surface waters with cooler waters below.

He calls his invention the “Salter Sink“. It works as a wave powered pump. Ocean waves push hot water onto the top of the cylinder, which pumps the water inside down. It comes out the bottom (around 200 meters below) and mixes with colder water. This brings the temperature on the surface down over time.

“A Salter Sink can move about a gigawatt of thermal energy,” the British scientist claims.

Professor Salter first came up with his idea after seeing tremendous damage caused in New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina and first presented it to the U.S. government in 2007.

Hurricane Katrina caused damage totaling about 300 billion dollars. At the latest reports, Hurricane Sandy economic cost could reach $50 billion.

Stephen Salter’s “Salter Sink” has been funded by Bill Gates and Nathan Myhrvold’s company Intellectual Ventures. The devices could potentially be placed in “hurricane alley” in the Atlantic order to reduce surface temperatures and stop the storms before they start. They could also be deployed months before the beginning of the hurricane season in late spring at a cost that would hopefully be less than the damage wreaked by flooding and extreme winds.

Equipped with radar, the “Salter Sink” would drift across the ocean, sending signals so that they would not collide with watercraft.

Professor Salter claims the mechanics of his technology has been proven, but says research funding is urgently needed to investigate the ecological effects it might have.

The movie below illustrates the idea, and you can download a Salter Sink White Paper with more detail.

Intellectual Ventures

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