OceanTherm officials hope that by placing pockets of air deep beneath the waves, they will be able to lower the ocean temperature, thereby depriving the storm of the energy it needs to turn into a hurricane.
Hurricanes are formed when warm water evaporates from the ocean’s surface and meets cool winds, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA). The risk of a tropical storm turning into a full-fledged hurricane is greatest when the surface temperature exceeds 26.5 ° C.
By placing a bubble curtain in strategic regions of the Gulf of Mexico, OceanTherm hopes to keep surface temperatures below this critical point during hurricane season, thereby reducing the risk of a disaster. Olav Hollingsaeter, CEO of the company, said the idea first occurred to him after he witnessed the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
– At a depth of 100 meters, we found the waters cold enough to reduce the surface temperature to below 26.5OC, said Olav Hollingsaeter.
Similar technologies have been used for years to keep Norway’s fjords ice-free in winter. However, OceanTherm says it now intends to set the bubble curtain to a depth of 200 meters, which would be the deepest application to date.
Creating a bubble curtain will be quite expensive and will amount (including tests) to around $ 17 million. Given the devastation that hurricanes are wreaking, this investment could pay off.
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