Ces scientifiques rêveurs ont tout essayé pour éradiquer les cyclones

Un membre du comité des opérations d’urgence anticipe la trajectoire de l’ouragan Irma à Saint-Domingue.

Un membre du comité des opérations d’urgence anticipe la trajectoire de l’ouragan Irma à Saint-Domingue.

CYCLONES – L’île de Saint-Barthélémy serait détruite à 95%. Quelques jours plus tôt avant le passage d’Irma sur l’île française, l’ouragan Harvey touchait plus de 100.000 foyers aux États-Unis. À chaque cyclone, son lot de calamités.
Pourtant, on les voit arriver de loin ces catastrophes naturelles, météorologues et prévisionnistes sont sur le qui-vive. Mais la seule chose qu’il reste à faire est de se barricader. La consolation est maigre et de nombreuses personnes se sont posé la question suivante: ne peut-on pas tuer les cyclones dans l’œuf, ou les détourner avant qu’ils ne dévastent tout?
L’équivalent de cinq bombes atomiques par seconde

Des chercheurs s’y sont essayés. Le gouvernement américain s’y est frotté avec des expériences réelles et poussées. Mais l’idée a vite été abandonnée pour privilégier la prévention et la prévision.
La puissance d’un ouragan est telle qu’intervenir auprès de lui est improductif. Le site de Météo France explique qu’un « ouragan en pleine maturité, c’est cinq bombes atomiques par seconde en équivalent énergétique ». L’énergie qu’il faudrait déployer pour venir à bout d’un cyclone est inimaginable.

« La condensation moyenne de dix centimètres d’eau par jour dans un rayon de deux cents kilomètres autour du centre cyclonique, libère près de quatre cents milliards de watts, soit la production de quatre cents centrales nucléaires à pleine puissance ». (D’après les travaux de F. Roux et N. Viltard publiés en 1997).

De plus, les typhons seraient nécessaires à l’équilibre de la planète. D’après Météo France toujours, leur rôle « consiste à libérer l’excès, le trop-plein de chaleur et d’humidité des Tropiques, telle une soupape de sécurité, et de les transférer plus au nord vers les régions qui en ont besoin, et qui, sans cela, seraient beaucoup plus froides. Le cyclone tropical participe donc pleinement au cycle climatologique et thermodynamique de l’atmosphère. Sans lui et ses congénères (il y en a entre 75 et 100 par an tout autour du globe, dont la moitié atteignent le stade d’ouragan ou équivalent), le climat de la Terre en serait bouleversé. »

Cependant, d’autres professeurs, que l’on peut qualifier de doux rêveurs, ou d’inventeurs à la marge, continuent à vouloir attaquer les cyclones à la racine. On retrouve des essais farfelus mais pensés au départ comme des projets très sérieux, jusqu’en 2009. Présentation.

• Des jets supersoniques au-dessus des cyclones

Arkady Leonov, professeur émérite en physique mathématique d’une université américaine, proposait en décembre 2008 de taper dans l’œil du typhon directement.

L’idée est de faire passer des avions supersoniques au-dessus et d’espérer que le souffle des engins transforme l’énergie thermique en énergie cinétique, c’est-à-dire liée aux vents et à la pluie, donc moins dangereuse.

En effet, les cyclones se forment sous l’effet de la chaleur et se dissolvent au contact de l’eau de mer par exemple, parce qu’elle est plus fraîche.

De gauche à droite: « Direction du parcours horizontal de l’ouragan », « trajectoire de l’avion au-dessus de l’eau ». En bas: « Limite externe du mur de l’œil du cyclone ».

Le professeur a voulu présenter son invention au MIT et à d’autres structures de recherche, sans succès. Le site Popular science s’est entretenu avec l’unité de recherche la plus connue outre-Atlantique pour savoir si cette invention avait un quelconque avenir. Voici leur réponse: « (…) C’est une mauvaise idée. Demandez à Arkady de comparer le pouvoir de deux F-14 avec 400 milliards de watts. Cela permettra juste de détruire des avions et de tuer leurs pilotes. »

• Un entonnoir géant dans la mer

Le co-fondateur d’Intellectual Ventures, une entreprise connue pour collectionner les brevets sans voir les inventions aboutir, Nathan Myhrvold, a imaginé en 2009 des entonnoirs géants à disposer en mer pour empêcher la température des eaux de monter, afin que les cyclones gardent une ampleur raisonnable.

Selon lui, un millier de ces tubes dans le Golfe du Mexique réduirait considérablement la puissance des ouragans. Problème: l’invention est au point mort, puisqu’aucune institution, ni université, n’a souhaité mener l’expérience.

• Le projet Stormfury

Entre 1963 et 1982, le gouvernement américain s’est employé à mettre en place cet ambitieux programme expérimental de recherche sur la modification des cyclones. Il ne s’agit pas d’un projet farfelu, mais comme les autres, il était voué à l’échec.

Il s’agissait ici d’ensemencer l’extérieur de l’œil du cyclone avec de l’iodure d’argent, afin de former un œil plus grand, donc moins puissant. L’expérience a été tentée dans quatre cyclones sur huit jours différents. Sur ces quatre jours, les vents ont diminué de 10 à 30%. Mais les résultats ont démontré que l’opération coûteuse ​​avait « peu de chances de succès parce que les cyclones contenaient trop de glace naturelle et trop peu d’eau en surfusion », comme l’indique le site meteoi.re.

• Bombe nucléaire, micro-ondes et rayons laser

Et pourquoi pas ? Un certain Hugh Willoughby, professeur à l’université de Miami, proposait en 1990 rien de moins qu’envoyer une bombe nucléaire au cœur des typhons. Problème, l’énergie produite par un cyclone dépasse largement celle d’une bombe nucléaire « traditionnelle ». Avant de détruire un ouragan, tentons de préserver ce qu’il reste de viable sur notre planète.

En 2004, le chercheur Ross Hoffman recevait 500.000 euros de fonds de la part de la Nasa pour envoyer des micro-ondes sur les cyclones depuis l’espace. De son côté, l’inventeur Robert Dickerson, professeur également, proposait d’envoyer des rayons lasers depuis des avions passant à proximité des ouragans.

Pourquoi n’y avait-on pas pensé plus tôt?

 

Source: HUFFPOST

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