Sunday, August 25, 2019

JOUR107.1001--Hurricanes and Thermonuclear Explosions----AN OPERATIONAL POTENTIAL INNOVATIVE PARADIGM

James L'Angelle
University of Nevada, Reno
College of Liberal Arts
Fall 2019
     (The Bureau)-- Believe it or not, Chris Mills Rodrigo of MSN News has the nerve to forward a report from the dubious self-styled rag "Axios" over some scuttlebutt that the President has suggested dropping nuclear weapons on a hurricane;
     " 'I got it. I got it. Why don't we nuke them?' Trump said at one such White House briefing, a source who was there told Axios." (MSN)
Throughout the Rodrigo copy-and-paste report, the words "source told Axios," "a source briefed on the NSC memo," "another senior administration official told Axios," and so on and so forth. Riddled with no-name sources and unverifiable claims of the nuke the hurricane brainstorm, the story from the outset is obviously false, ridiculous and shameful.
     However, for the sake of clarification, it is prudent to examine and refute the theory with sufficient, not insufficient data. As far back as 1956, hurricane war-mongers floated the brilliant plan to stop hurricanes cold in their tracks by blasting them to pieces with nuclear weapons. One such article was found in the Baltimore Sun;
      "As a hurricane grows and reaches maximum intensity, 'the energy of this mature rotating storm is tremendous, and now far exceeds even the energy of a large weapon.' Therefore, the report continues. any bombs dropped indiscriminately . . might simply add to he heat and thereby tend to increase . . intensity." The region where a large explosion might slow down the winds is still unknown. And, even if the winds could be disrupted, 'the energy released by the precipitation process could restore the winds to full force within a few minutes' ."  (Baltimore Sun)
     In fact, the article continues to point out that intense heat created by a thermonuclear explosion would only add to the existing convection created by the movement of the cyclone. In addition, a single blast would hardly affect the massive energy contained in a system. The contrast is made quite clear in the 2005 Ithaca Journal article by Jim Waymer of Gannett News Service;
     "The typical hurricane puts out heat energy equal to a 10-megaton nuclear explosion every 20 minutes. Heat and electrical energy released around Hurricane Andrew's eye, for example, was 5,000 times that of the Turkey Point nuclear power plant, which the storm passed near Miami." (Ithaca Journal)
Even if it were possible to predict the outcome of the blast, there is still a matter of radioactive debris spreading out across the dissipating winds and possibly being blown onshore in a haphazard manner.
     At least one hypothetical method for interpreting the effect of a thermonuclear explosion and the resultant aftermath of the fallout cloud can be demonstrated by use of an ingenious online tool. The reason is considered using the "subliminal advertising" rationale of James Vicary, as mentioned in Richard Gafford's secret 1994 CIA document titled The Operational Potential of Subliminal Perception;
     "Because part of what he is promoting is supported by laboratory data, however, it has enough status to warrant serious attention." (Eyeless on Campus)
Vicary apparently promoted a hoax using below-conscious threshold onscreen suggestions for moviegoers to go to the concession stand and buy popcorn in the late 1950s. It drew attention to the CIA due to similar experiments of lab work and thus became necessary to examine it more closely.
     Because of that precedent of utilizing rather disconnected lab material to define an event, it is defined as having an "operational potential." The same method can then be used to verify the claim that a thermonuclear  event can mitigate a cyclone, in effect, neutralize it.
    Using two separate maps and superimposing one upon the other in Photoshop will illustrate the parameters of the thermonuclear detonation on the hurricane. For this particular experiment, the first map was found at SkyVector of the incoming Tropical Storm Dorian southeast of the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles. The second map is from Alex Wellerstein's "Nuclear Secrecy" page where various nuclear bombs can be detonated anywhere in the world. The weapons of mass destruction can vary according to nationality, kilo-to-megatonnage along with numerous variables that show blast radius and fallout debris pattern and drift.
Utilizing the SkyVector map on the left (above) as the base and the NukeMap on the right (above) superimposed in Photoshop, it becomes clear the proportion of the explosion compared to the tropical cyclone. For the particular experiment, the device considered was the American B-83 plutonium-deuterium (probable) device with a yield of approximately 1200 kilotons. (Nuclear Weapons Archive)
According to the specs at NukeMap, the bomb has a blast radius of just under one mile with an area of 3.5 square miles.  The Photoshop superimposition (75% transparency) illustrates the blast area over the tropical cyclone (Dorian). Clearly, even the nuclear weapon with one of the highest yields in the arsenal would create but a ripple even in the faintest of tropical systems as shown with relation to Dorian. The actual air-blast area would be about ten miles with just a 20 psi change. How that would affect the extreme barometric conditions inside the vortex itself is extremely elusive.  Even considering a thermal-psi area in square miles of 250, that would just mean the cyclone would have more heat to feed into its system, even with the disruption created by the initial fireball.
     There has been no modern effort to examine the effect of a thermonuclear detonation on tropical storms, above-ground testing ended in the Sixties for the major world powers. What was learned from some of the major blasts in Nevada and out in the South Pacific hardly related to storm systems.
     Many times the debris clouds themselves forced islanders to evacuate while other clouds drifted halfway across a hemisphere before dissipating. Whether using atomic weapons to neutralize atmospheric disturbances is practical or not, would create a major firestorm of protest worldwide for reasons totally unrelated to hurricanes, even though destruction from those systems often create far more destruction than what might come from the bomb.  The question isn't really whether the device would stop the storm, but whether a potential operational innovative paradigm can be discovered that would lead to an eventual solution.
Verified Sources
Rodrigo, CM,
Energy of System, Baltimore Sun, 20 August 1956, Page 4
Gafford, R.,
Bomb photo,