Re: Mother Nature

Brian D Williams (
Wed, 15 Sep 1999 11:00:26 -0700 (PDT)

From: "David Lubkin" <>

>Watching the storms heading up the coast reminded me of the old
>science fiction dream of weather control. Assuming that we keep
>this planet, and people still want to live on it, the weather will
>still be a factor in a nanotech, space-faring, AI/IA future, as
>will earthquakes, volcanos, etc.

>Given quadrillions of sensors and lots of computational power, how
>far in advance can we predict severe or extreme weather and
>seismic events?

Unfortunately we've known since 1963 that long range weather forecasting on this planet is impossible (chaos). As I recall from the formulas, if we placed a pole every square foot, with sensors every foot to the top of the atmosphere, we could manage something like 50% accuracy over 30 days. like a good formula, it allows us to determine how accurate we can be now, at our current level of instrumentation, 60% as I recall, over two and a half days. I believe most major meteorologists are between 55% and 60% on average....not bad!

The problem is that there is to much volatility in a single cubic foot of air. (observe cigarette smoke sometime....)

To bad the rest of the population doesn't realize this, they need better press agents.

The source for this as I recall is James Gleick's book "Chaos".

>How can we divert or dissipate them?

>The only idea I've ever heard is somehow using strategically
>placed, low-yield, clean nuclear weapons, either for earthquakes
>or for tsunamis. What would happen if you sent a terawatt power
>beam from orbit to the eye of a hurricane? Can we use our
>advanced warning and automatically move all structures out of
>range? Are there natural planetary forces strong enough to damage
>a diamondoid beanstalk?

A clean nuclear weapon? (oxymoron)

There was an idea a long time ago to release hydrogen balloons which would be exploded to disrupt a tornado, I don't know how far the research got.

The real problem is atmospheric volatility, and the so called "Butterfly effect" the notion that small differences in initial conditions have dramatically different effects.

>Beyond dealing with crises, can we have true weather control?
>How? With how fine a resolution in space and in time?

doesn't look good at this point.


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