How To Minimize Hurricane Flood Damage

3475 words - 14 pages

Hurricanes are destructive and dangerous forces of nature that exist because of a long process involving heat, wind, and vapor. When sea water heats, it creates vapor that rises in the atmosphere as time passes. These vapors become strong winds and are classified as a hurricane when they are greater than seventy-four miles per hour (Emily, Helen, and Mohamed). According to John Roach of National Geographic, these conditions have occurred very frequently since 1995 due to an increase in the temperature of the ocean, which created more vapor, heavy rainfall, and serious hurricanes. This increase in temperature caused the dangerous floods of Hurricane Irene in 2011 and the deaths of more than eleven thousand people in 1998 due to Hurricane Mitch (Cimons and Landsea). We plan to investigate the impact of floods and storm surges on coastal areas and cities caused by these high water temperatures and the currently proposed and partially effective solutions used to slow hurricane waves and prevent floods.
(A) A proposed method of slowing hurricanes, diminishing waves and minimizing floods was created by Bill Gates and a dozen scientists/engineers from his company, Intellectual Ventures, who suggested to place as many as two hundred cylinder-shaped tubs via airplanes in general hurricane paths “which...would collect water through waves breaking over the walls of the tub. Some variations have the water moving through turbines on their way down, which would in turn generate electricity to suck up the cooler water” (Schleifstein). The mechanics of the tub send warm water from the waves deeper into the sea while colder water is pumped to the surface (Schleifstein). The single problem with Gates’ solution is that it has not been built. The cooler water would prevent increases in temperature large enough to increase a wave’s intensity and thus slow the hurricane and reduce its damage (Schleifstein). According to a posting on the company website by an employee Paul Holman, “the system would be feasible only if other responses to more active hurricane seasons or more intense hurricanes...do not work” (Schleifstein). A similar solution that has been unsuccessful and used since the 1940s called cloud seeding, researched by many scientists including Dr. John Latham, the senior visiting scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, according to an article of CBS Denver. The article’s author, Alan Gionet, explains that Latham suggests cooling down the water off the African Coast (Gionet). Many of the Atlantic hurricanes were created from warm African waters, which provide the necessary energy for the hurricanes to gain speed and their waves to become large and dangerous (Gionet). Cloud seeding focuses on the additional of silver iodide to the atmosphere, which would lower the surrounding water’s temperature, decrease precipitation and the amount of waves, and therefore decreasing the wave’s intensity (Moseman and Kazmi). The vehicle, which Latham...

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