Physicist Ronjia Tao from Temple University claims that giant walls could prevent tornadoes that devastate homes located in Tornado Alley. According to Tao, by erecting three walls 1,000 feet high and 150 feet wide, which run from east to west along the Kansas-Oklahoma area, the weather patterns could be disrupted enough to diminish the threat of tornadoes. As a recipe for success, the physicist offers China’s mountains and suggests that a force comparable to the one of mountainous areas could at least slow down the aggressive effects of the violent storms.
During the meeting of the American Physical Society, the physicist stated that his idea costs $60 billion per 100 miles, but the amount of money is unimportant when compared with the billions of dollars that are worth the violent storms when they damage whole cities. Although the physicist claims that giant walls could prevent tornadoes, other experts like Joshua Wurman from the Center for Severe Weather Research do not agree with this idea.According to Wurman, turning the giant walls into reality could have unforseen consequences. At the same time, NOAA’s National Severe Storm Laboratory stated that the only way of stopping a tornado is by disrupting “the supercell thunderstorm itself,” but doing so could result in even more damage than the violent storm.
Preparations in Progress
Tao stated that while he cannot replicate the Alps, he has already done computer simulations in order to prevent tornadoes and the next step is to build actual models that will be tested in wind tunnels. The physicist claims that he already talked to architects and, although it would take years to finalize the giant walls, they could be done in stages.
Although Tao has not reached out to the government or environmental agencies yet, he continues with the tests, an action harshly criticized by Wurman; the tornado expert believes that the answer to preventing tornadoes is a better prediction and the ability to warn people in order to get out of nature’s way.
Tornado researcher Harold Brooks from the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Normal, Oklahoma also considers that Tao’s idea is ill-founded and went as far as saying that the physicist may be good at what he does, but tornadoes are not his speciality.
Meteorologist Mike Smith of AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions wrote on his blog about the temperature differences and offered his viewers a lesson about violent storms while debunking Tao’s plans. The giant walls, which should go from North Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana would not shelter towns, but soften the cold northern air which reportedly clashes the hot southern air and form tornadoes.
The billion-dollar project remains just an idea for now, but Tao has already introduced his plan during the meeting of the American Physical Society. Irrespective of the next steps, the physicist is set to go forward with his idea of preventing violent storms with the help of giant walls. Although it remains unclear what causes the supercells to create such powerful natural calamities, before looking for answers, Tao wishes to look for methods to prevent them. Therefore, the physicist claims that giant walls could prevent tornadoes and has prepared a series of steps to simulate the outcome of this daring project.
By Gabriela Motroc