The History of Nuking Hurricanes

The idea of nuking hurricanes has been in the news lately. Which made me wonder: how soon after learning of the existence of atomic bombs did people start to speculate about dropping them into hurricanes?

The answer seems to be, immediately. I found the article below about nuking hurricanes, dated Aug 8, 1945 — a mere two days after the bombing of Hiroshima.

Interestingly, the article speculates that the idea may have been inspired by earlier legends about using cannons to dispel waterspouts:

Talk of bombing hurricanes stems from stories of waterspouts being dissipated in the South Seas with cannon or rifle shot, Norton said. He doubts the truth of these yarns.

The Miami News - Aug 8, 1945

     Posted By: Alex - Sun Sep 15, 2019
     Category: Atomic Power and Other Nuclear Matters | 1940s | Weather

I read a proposal based on what was known at the time (late 1960s? very early 1970s?). It called for multiple small atomic sub-surface explosions in a ring around the hurricane. The idea was, irrc, hurricanes form because of hot water and cold winds, so adding areas of hot water around the perimeter sidetracks the cold winds. You'd be doubling the amount of energy in the storm but squaring its area.

Whoever wrote the proposal lamented long and hard how the government had made it impossible for researchers to use even small nukes in their experiments -- how do you expect people to do their jobs if you don't let them have the tools they need?
Posted by Phideaux on 09/15/19 at 02:10 PM
There were also proposals to use nuclear devices for excavating long connecting canals across land between oceans. I don't think that would have been a good idea.
Posted by KDP on 09/15/19 at 07:51 PM
Russians were actually the best with Peaceful Nuclear Explosions (PNEs). Bombs used in their "Nuclear Explosions for the National Economy" program were much cleaner than American-designed bombs for "Project Plowshare." The one used to create Lake Chagan (sp?) was clean enough that people fish and swim there with no ill effects.
Posted by Phideaux on 09/15/19 at 10:20 PM
Russians also said that the Chernobyl incident was tiny enough that people fish and swim nearby with no ill effects. Also, what Chernobyl incident?
Posted by Yudith on 09/16/19 at 06:10 AM

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