Future weather control: no more storms, earthquakes, tsunamis

May 29 2008 / by futuretalk / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Environment   Year: General   Rating: 14 Hot

By Dick Pelletier

In just ninety seconds, the Great Kanto Earthquake destroyed Japan’s economy in 1923 throwing the country into chaos. Instability opened the door for a military government, which quickly led to war in Southeast Asia, then to WWII, dishing out unimaginable horrors to the world.

Could a 1923 disaster repeat itself? What if the Southern California “Big One”, forecast for years by experts, actually happened and 16 million people suddenly found their homes submerged in the Pacific Ocean? Could an event like this destroy the American economy, and how would that affect the rest of the world?

Property losses from violent weather are increasing. The recent Myanmar cyclone and China earthquake have both caused huge losses in lives, weakened economies and devastated areas. Everyone enjoys nature’s breathtaking beauty and we could not exist without its bounty, but sometimes this Earth we call home can be harsh and unforgiving.

Forward-thinking scientists believe current knowledge of weather modification, combined with our newest wonder science – molecular nanotechnology – will one day provide an opportunity for humanity to inoculate itself against natural disasters.

Geologists describe earth’s atmosphere as an envelope of air, rotating with the continents and oceans; receiving enormous amounts of energy from the Sun’s radiation, which powers weather events. Typical energy expended in a tornado funnel is equal to about fifty kilotons of explosives; a thunderstorm exchanges about ten times this much during its lifetime; and a moderate size Atlantic hurricane can build up to more than 1,000 megatons of energy. (cont.)

These vast quantities of power make it unlikely that brute-force techniques would ever lead to sensible weather modification. However, experts believe we could exert some control over our weather by creating instabilities in the atmosphere. Scientists have successfully “seeded” clouds with dry ice to dissipate fog at airports and using similar ideas, research is underway to increase rainfall in dry western states, which will improve living conditions.

Earthquake control has received much attention recently. In the course of underground nuclear weapons testing in Nevada, researchers observed that an explosion could release strain in rock layers. Some hypothesize that a series of small timely explosions correctly placed near earthquake faults could reduce an earthquake’s power making it less harmful.

Now enter the amazing wonders of nanotech. Scientists theorize that advanced nanobots expected by 2040 or before, could enable us to tame our wild planet, creating a safe environment free from nature’s violence; and increased human intelligence expected during this same period, would give us the wisdom needed to perform intricate terraforming procedures without endangering our future.

Think about it. Violent storms have always been part of Earth’s evolution. In the insect and microbe world, storms destroy some life forms and create new ones. Today’s intelligence, human or machine, cannot comprehend possible repercussions from altering “natural” phenomena, but tomorrow’s enhanced brains and powerful quantum supercomputers promise far greater chance of understanding consequences in making decisions that could create a safer environment.

From 2050 to 2100, we will begin scattering our populations to the stars and the focus will be on making Mars, Moon and other space homes more human-friendly. During this same period, positive futurists believe that we will learn much about terraforming Earth as well.

When do you think technology will enable complete control over weather?

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Comment Thread (2 Responses)

  1. Dick: Great post. Mankind has always been interested in trying to control the weather. In the 18th century, churches rang bells in an attempt to disperse lightening; in the 19th century the French government concocted a plan to fire canons into the sky in an effort to create rainstorms; and today the Chinese government is reportedly experimenting with dropping nanoparticles into clouds to achieve the same goal. (I also recall seeing reports of the U.S. Air Force researching the idea of using weather as a weapon.)

    Posted by: juldrich   May 30, 2008
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  2. Thanks for the enlightening comment, Jack.

    I see a time in the not-too-distant future – maybe around 2075 – when nano-robots can be instructed to head for the skies and change the molecular structure of the atmosphere before dangerous storms can form; and travel deep underground to change the atomic makeup of tectonic plates and the space between them eliminating the rapid falls that cause earthquakes.

    The nanobot’ technologies that can perform these weather control actions will probably be developed in the 2030s, but the wisdom in how to implement this forward science with minimal harm to the environment may not be available until 2075 or so.

    Posted by: futuretalk   May 30, 2008
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