Meanwhile, a Boston-based team aims to attack a hurricane’s cold ceiling. Ross Hoffman and Moshe Alamaro, this team’s leaders, want to disperse tons of a special kind of soot as high as 50,000 feet—essentially spray-painting the top of the hurricane black, so the heat of the sun can warm the storm’s upper layer, just as sunshine warms a black-roofed house. (This approach has obvious ecological drawbacks.)
Both teams of researchers would dump their particles out of large cargo planes, some of which can carry 125 tons or more. In Hoffman and Alamaro’s scenario, the planes would disgorge the soot above the hurricane’s eye and the storm would disperse it outward. In the other group’s plan, planes would disperse the salt particles at the storm’s outer edges, to be hoovered up by the storm’s churn and delivered to its heart. In both cases, the immediate impact on the hurricane’s intensity would probably be negligible, but the effect would compound over time as the storm drifted west. All told, it might take a dozen or so flights a day to set in motion the degradation of a big storm.
Maybe next hurricane.