Name: Anthony M.
I read in a recent article that it has become possible
to "stop" a tornado from happening through the use of satellite/laser
systems. Is there any truth to this that work?
I do not know what satellite/lasers are circling above, but I have
experienced a few tornados. Their energy is truly fearsome. Nothing is
impossible, but the evidence would have to be pretty strong to claim to stop
a tornado in its tracks.
I have not seen the article you referred to, but doubt that laser
technology has advanced enough to be used to affect tornadic thunderstorms.
These storms are very powerful, releasing as much energy as a small nuclear
bomb every minute of their existence. And cloud layers tend to disperse and
absorb laser beams, making it difficult to penetrate very deeply inside a
At some future time we may be able to affect the development or
intensification of severe storms, possibly involving lasers, but I'm not
aware of any near-term possibilities.
Wendell Bechtold, meteorologist
Forecaster, National Weather Service
Weather Forecast Office, St. Louis, MO
There is no truth to what you read. People speculate
about ways to change/prevent weather and climate, but
there is little that we can do (other than making bad
impacts, such as through pollution) against the enormous
energy contained in weather systems. Minor effects can
be achieved through cloud seeding to produce small amounts
of precipitation, but that is about the limit of our
Laser systems have been proposed and even tested to
trigger lightning (which we have traditionally done with
copper wires trailing behind rockets), but they only
discharge storm energy that would have been discharged
David R. Cook
Atmospheric Research Section
Environmental Research Division
Argonne National Laboratory
The energies associated with a tornado are so vast, I doubt if any laser (satellite or
otherwise) could disrupt it. It will be interesting to see what other NEWTON scientists
have to say on your question.
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Update: June 2012