I know I waxed friendly on Gates yesterday, but this latest plan seems a little mad-scientist to me. Of course, he didn’t concoct it personally and it’s only possible to use it for good, but the sheer scale of the thing just screams “Dr. Evil.” The idea is that by changing the ocean’s temperature by a few degrees in the area where a hurricane is about to hit, they can slow or weaken a hurricane before it makes landfall. Of course, changing the temperature of the ocean is about is large-scale an operation as is possible on this planet.
Fortunately, they only need to change its temperature in a certain area, and only by a few degrees. This would create enough atmospheric something-or-other to affect the storm. A whole bunch of “sail-maneuvered barges” (why sails?) with pumps and 500-foot tubes would pump up cold water from the depths and push warmwater down. Of course, it’s going to be hard to staff a hundred ships that will be going straight into the path or eye of the hurricane. Not exactly the safest place to be, but on the plus side it’d make a great movie.
If you were to say to me “that’s madness,” I wouldn’t think less of you for it. But it seems that hurricanes apparently cost the US $10bn annually and Katrina cost us $81bn. A fraction of that would pay for this entire fleet.
My problem is this: the ocean is a very well-tuned ecosystem, and a temperature change of a few degrees might be negligible to us, but for microfauna or algae it may be fatal. Mess with the planet’s homeostasis at your own risk, my friends.