Hurricane Prevention Might Be Possible through Bubble Nets

Norwegian scientists think that the answer to stopping a hurricane could be cold bubbles.
Derya Ozdemir
A bubble curtainOceanTherm    

We all know that hurricanes spell out bad news and with another major hurricane hitting the United States, it should be noted that engineers are working their smarts to stop hurricanes before they hit land.

From cooling water to weaken hurricanes to "nuking" them, many creative minds have focused on ways of stopping hurricanes in their tracks. In one a bit bizarre yet innovative case, Norway firm OceanTherm has proposed stretching a submerged "bubble net" across the path of an impending storm.


Founded in 2017, the group of Norweigan scientists set out on the goal of stopping hurricanes after seeing Hurricane Katrina destroying thousands of homes and taking the lives of 1,800 people. And it is a fact that hurricanes in the U.S have become more severe and three times more likely to occur now than 100 years ago.

According to the team of scientists, a storm could be slowed or avoided altogether by using a technique that goes like this: a long, thin, and flexible pipe that is moored below the surface would produce a massive stream of bubbles.

This would create a stream of bubbles, thus creating a frothy current that rises to the surface. You might be asking what they would accomplish with such a thing, and in order to understand that, you need to know that hurricanes love warm surface waters.

The upward current of bubbles would push cooler water to the surface, thereby making the hurricane less powerful. OceanTherm CEO Olav Hollingsæter stated, "If we were able to avoid the water being so hot, the hurricanes won’t be able to build such strength. They all disappear when they come into colder water."

Their bubble net technology is currently at use in Norway, however, works rather in reverse to keep ice away from two power plants located along the water's edge, per Wired. Moreover, it is currently being deployed to collect plastic junk from rivers, fjords, and canals. 

You can watch a field test demonstrating how OcearnTherm makes use of the underwater pipe. The warmer water floating to the surface and the resulting temperature differences can be seen through the drone images.

While the idea hasn't been tested on a hurricane and the formation of hurricanes still remain vastly unknown, it might still be worth exploring. Hollingsæter says, "We can foresee a fleet of 20 ships with compressors and generators would be able to prevent a warm current from fueling the hurricane.

"When hurricanes are large like Laura, they are very difficult to manage. But they are small in the beginning. If we are there and we can see a hurricane coming into a large area with hot water, we can work slowly over a period to stop the water from being so hot. Then maybe then the hurricane will maybe be more of a low-pressure system coming in."

Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron
Job Board