Why blowing up a hurricane isn’t as far-fetched as you think

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Over the weekend, we received an email from "Rick S." who writes:

Many years ago there was a movie about real life person that used to go to oil wells that had blown up and caught on fire. (I think it might have been a John Wayne movie.)  The fire was coming out like a blow torch. He was an expert at this and would use a 55 gallon drum filled with something explosive to blow up inside of the fire and put it out so the well could be capped. I have wondered if this is something that could be used to stop a hurricane or tornado from spinning. Such as a bomber dropping a bomb into the hurricane and stop it from spinning. Probably not useful for a tornado, but when  hurricane is out over the ocean, the destruction would only be water blowing up. Any ideas on this????

While my first inclination was to just reply "That's not possible," I decided to look into it further.

First, how much energy is in a hurricane versus a one megaton bomb? While the graphic above makes it look like they are similar numbers, you've got to consider these numbers are much different. But just for the sake of plausibility, let's say it is possible.

Now let's consider the cost. According to CNBC, the cost of a nuclear bomb is roughly $270 million. The Balance reports the yearly average damage estimate for the United States is $28 billion each year. If it takes less than ten explosive devices in a year, the country would indeed save money damages.

The main issue with this idea is the ramifications such an explosive device would cause in the oceans. Using a bomb that has the capacity needed to influence a hurricane, it would cause a massive amount of radiation. 

That radiation would then be transferred up the food chain to what we eat, exposing many to the biological effects of a bomb deterrent.

Another thing to consider is the real possibility that adding such energy to a storm could "super size" it or at the least push it toward another coastline. That would bring about a moral dilemma if a storm were pushed to a country or island that couldn't afford an explosive deterrent.

We want to know what you think! Click here to chime in on Facebook!

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.