What is Project Stormfury?

The United States Government attempted in 1960s and 1970s to artificially weaken the Cyclones. During this project, Cyclones were seeded with silver iodide. It was thought that the seeding would cause supercooled water in the outer rainbands to freeze, causing the inner eye wall to collapse and thus reducing the winds. The Hurricane Debbie lost as much as 31% of its strength, when seeded with Silver Iodide in this project but Debbie regained its strength after each of two seeding forays. So, it was not a good idea. There were some more ideas applied which were as follows:

  • Cooling the water under a tropical cyclone by towing icebergs into the tropical oceans and covering the ocean in a substance that inhibits evaporation
  • Dropping large quantities of ice into the eye at very early stages of development (so that the latent heat is absorbed by the ice, instead of being converted to kinetic energy that would feed the positive feedback loop)
  • Blasting the cyclone apart with nuclear weapons.
  • A Project called Project Cirrus involved throwing dry ice on a cyclone.

None of the idea was very much practical because the tropical storms are too large and too momentary.