Could stopping a hurricane before it hits landfall be this simple?
In a patent application, Leonov and colleagues say that they can put a spanner in the atmospheric works by flying supersonic jet aircraft in concentric circles around a hurricane's eye, the calm area around which the storm rotates.If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. But hey, who knows. It's not like the technology doesn't exist today to try it out, so it'd be interesting to see if this actually works.
The idea is that the sonic-boom shockwave would dramatically raise air pressure in the eye, disrupting the upward flow of warm air that drives the hurricane.
But how many planes would you need? Sonic booms spread out as they travel away from an aircraft, so even a small number of relatively small aircraft could do the job, say Leonov and colleagues.
"Two F-4 jet fighters flying at approximately Mach 1.5 are sufficient to suppress, mitigate and/or destroy a typical sized hurricane/typhoon," they claim in their application.