Posted in | News | Climate Change

Artificial Ocean Cooling Futile to Weaken Hurricanes

A recent study stated that even if one had infinite power and could artificially cool the oceans enough to diminish a hurricane, the advantages would be negligible.

Artificial Ocean Cooling Futile to Weaken Hurricanes
A satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration captures an active hurricane season which included Hurricanes Katia and Irma and Tropical Storm Jose (from left to right) on September 8, 2017. Image Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Miami’s (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric and Earth Science, using intervention technology to diminish a hurricane before it reaches landfall is an unproductive means to reduce the effects of disasters.

The main result from our study is that massive amounts of artificially cooled water would be needed for only a modest weakening in hurricane intensity before landfall. Plus, weakening the intensity by marginal amounts doesn’t necessarily mean that the likelihood for inland damages and safety risks would decrease as well.

James Hlywiak, Study Lead Author and Graduate Student, University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

Hlywiak added, “While any amount of weakening before landfall is a good thing, for these reasons it makes more sense to direct focus towards adaptation strategies such as reinforcing infrastructure, improving the efficiency of evacuation procedures, and advancing the science around detection and prediction of impending storms.

The researchers integrated air-sea interaction theories using an advanced computer model of the atmosphere to provide scientifically sound answers to questions concerning the efficacy of artificially cooling the ocean to weaken hurricanes.

They reduced ocean temperatures by up to 2 °C in regions up to 260,000 km2, which is larger than the state of Oregon and equal to 21,000 km3 of water. The simulated hurricanes weakened barely 15%, even with the most extensive cooling area.

This modest reduction required energy extraction from the ocean equal to more than 100 times the amount used in the whole United States in just 2019 alone.

You might think that the main finding of our article, that it is pointless to try to weaken hurricanes, should be obvious. And yet, various ideas for hurricane modification appear often in popular media and are even submitted for patents every few years. We are happy to be able to put something into the peer-reviewed literature that actually addresses this.

David Nolan, Study Senior Author and Professor, Atmospheric Sciences, University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

Nature Communications Earth & Environment published this study. It was funded by a National Science Foundation PREEVENTS grant (Award # 1663947) and a Graduate Fellowship from the University of Miami.

Journal Reference:

Hlywiak, J., et al. (2022) Targeted artificial ocean cooling to weaken tropical cyclones would be futile. Nature Communications Earth & Environment. doi:10.1038/s43247-022-00519-1.


Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this news story?

Leave your feedback
Your comment type
Azthena logo powered by Azthena AI

Your AI Assistant finding answers from trusted AZoM content

Azthena logo with the word Azthena

Your AI Powered Scientific Assistant

Hi, I'm Azthena, you can trust me to find commercial scientific answers from

A few things you need to know before we start. Please read and accept to continue.

  • Use of “Azthena” is subject to the terms and conditions of use as set out by OpenAI.
  • Content provided on any AZoNetwork sites are subject to the site Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.
  • Large Language Models can make mistakes. Consider checking important information.

Great. Ask your question.

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.