Peter Cordani isn’t a meteorologist or even a weather aficionado. He’s just a Florida CEO sick of seeing his state pounded by hurricanes.
As head honcho at Dyn-O-Mat, a maker of environmental absorbents, it dawned on Cordani about five years ago that his company’s patented Dyn-O-Gel might have the power to take the punch out of hurricanes.
His first true test of the theory came in July 2001, when the company used a B-57 bomber to attack a thunderclap with the super absorbent polymer in the waters off Palm Beach. The storm evaporated completely from Doppler radar, according to Cordani. See related article
"It was an incredible moment," he said.
Bolstered by the success of the field test, Cordani gathered a team of scientists and investors, plus a convoy of 747 jetliners from Evergreen Aviation in Colorado, for the mother of all trials.
The group plans to tackle a tropical storm this hurricane season, which begins today. Cordani says that attacking a pie-shaped sliver of a hurricane as it forms over water could slow the storm down by 15 to 20 mph, causing the winds to turn on themselves.
"We’re not going to get rid of the storm," he said. "There will still be heavy rain. We’re just trying to take the punch out of it."
The idea of using weather modification techniques to take the fury out of hurricanes and tornadoes isn’t new. From 1962 until 1983, the National Weather Service undertook an ambitious experiment known as Project Stormfury.
The project was based on a theory called "cloud seeding," a process of using silver iodide to stimulate precipitation in clouds. In Project Stormfury, the idea was that seeding near the eye of the hurricane would force the wall to reform and reduce the strongest winds.
Scientists attempted to modify four hurricanes on eight different days during the experiment. On four of the eight days, wind speeds decreased by 10 percent to 30 percent. On four other days, nothing happened.
In the end, the government suspended the program after scientists could offer no proof that the storms slowed down due to the interference of man. Since then, there has been no federal funding for hurricane modification research.
Cordani’s fighting to change that. "Florida got hit with billions in property damages last year," he said. "What’s it going to mean to the government to spend $100 million on research to fight that damage next time around?"
10 jetliners carrying 200,000 pounds of Dyn-O-Gel
But the National Weather Service isn’t impressed with Dyn-O-Mat’s claims. Neither was the National Hurricane Center, which determined it would require nearly 400 planes with 100-ton payloads to harness the power of a hurricane.
Cordani counters that it would only take 10 jetliners carrying 200,000 pounds of Dyn-O-Gel to take the bite out of a massive storm. And he argues that there’s nothing for the government to lose by working with him on research.
Reports of the gooey substance in the water came from as far away as Mexico
He says Dyn-O-Gel is non-toxic and biodegradable. It falls into the water as gel after absorbing massive amounts of precipitation from a storm. He claims his company’s super absorbent polymer can hold up to 3,000 times its weight in liquid.
After the B-57 bomber experiment in 2001, television stations in Palm Beach reported finding a green gel washing up on the beaches in the area. Reports of the gooey substance in the water came from as far away as Mexico.
But Cordani swears the stuff is safe. "I know for a fact there’s more poison in French fries than my product," he said.
Dyn-O-Mat is based in Jupiter, Fla., an area that got pummeled by three out of the four hurricanes to hit the state last year. Some of the company’s buildings were damaged and several employees lost their homes.
"I don’t think there’s a naysayer in Florida doesn’t want research done on this project," Cordani said.
See Original Article
US Patent number 6315213 - Method of modifying weather
Mother of all tankers
Man vs Nature: Weather modification in the 21st century
Storm experts make cloud vanish
Main Library Menu
In the news index