I have a method that I believe could get rid of tornadoes as they appear. First, it appears that large pressure and temperature differences are major factors behind the formation of tornadoes, where the pressure and temperature are high on the ground and low in the thundercloud where the tornado originates from. Equalizing those pressure and temperature differences could very well cause the tornado to dissipate on the spot. The method? Fire a rocket or rockets into the stem of the tornado with the intent that the low air pressure where the tornado connects to the thundercloud will trigger the rocket to explode there and thus cancel out the low pressure and temperature there with the increased pressure and heat from the rocket's explosion. The ultimate intended result would be that the tornado would dissipate just as soon as the rocket were to explode. However, considering that this tornado proposal is just a concept at this point, I would like to be cautious and propose that the method described here be used only on tornadoes in the EF0 through EF3 range. If what I propose here works well on those smaller tornadoes, then the major EF4 and EF5 tornadoes could be tackled as well. For reference, the EF tornado scale is an enhanced version of the original Fujita F scale that was used to rate tornadoes. The EF scale, for the most part, rates tornadoes the same way that the original F scale did but there are some differences. In any event, the EF scale has replaced the original F scale, which is why I use the EF scale in this proposal.
To put my proposal in perspective, I would like to point out that I have spent approximately 25 years at TRW Systems in Redondo Beach, CA as a senior mechanical designer. My work there mostly included the rocket portion of the Space Systems Division. During my tenure at TRW as a senior mechanical designer, I was on a first name basis with the heads of the propulsion department.
The Lunar Excursion Module Descent Engine (LEMDE) was the major item that I contributed my time and effort there to. I was directly instrumental in saving a major component of that engine and I actually have parts on the moon. It was this engine that put the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) and the astronauts on the moon. I also worked on another program there called the Low Cost Boosters. This program was just as its name implies. I worked directly with the concept rocket engineers. I produced all of the drawings including those for a 1500 lb thrust engine, which was incorporated into a sounding rocket, all of the way up to a 250,000 lb booster. I produced drawings for both liquid and solid fuel rockets for this program. Ultimately, the program used only liquid fuel rockets. However, it is solid fuel variant of the 1500 lb thrust engine that I believe would work in my tornado proposal.
My proposal would use a solid fuel rocket for the following reasons: solid fuel rockets are much simpler to operate as opposed to liquid fuel types; they are portable and are usually housed in a multi-chambered canister as were the Patriot missiles used in Desert Storm; they are easily handled, are lightweight and are safer than a set of double tankers delivering gasoline to a gas station; and they can be armed at a launch site and do not need to be transported while in the "hot" condition. Because these proposed rockets and their necessary support hardware are not "off the shelf" items, there would need to be a development program for them. It would likely be more economical and conducive for the federal government to fund and manage the development program and the implementation of my proposal here rather than have each state do it on their own. Naturally, this would be used only for people who could benefit from it, namely state agencies and the citizens in tornado alley.
Depending on the intensity of the storm, the rocket or rockets could be fired singly or in multiples. This parameter would be determined during the necessary development program. These rockets could be transported by a team of what we now know as tornado chasers, and armed and launched from an appropriate vehicle into the funnel of the tornado. The scientific instrumentation used by the tornado chasers would determine distance, direction and storm intensity.
A detonation device would not have to be controlled by an operator who could be subjected to poor timing or misjudgment on distance and the like. The detonation could be done automatically, using an electrically connected diaphragm that would respond to the change in atmospheric pressure. It is this reduced atmospheric pressure that causes the tornado in the first place and gives the tornado its destructive power. For example, this reduction of pressure causes the walls of houses to blow out and not in. If you had a house with a 20 foot long wall with the windows closed and the doors shut, then a difference in pressure of 0.5 PSI, typical for a tornado, between the inside and outside would create a force of 11,520 pounds pushing on the wall from the inside.
Safety would be paramount in an exercise such as this. A concerned individual might ask: is the rocket and its explosive device safer than and would it do less damage than the tornado? How and why? The rocket could be constructed of lightweight but strong material, such as high-density paper tubing or a well stressed fiberglass tube. As an example, the next time you are at a building site that has multiple columns made of concrete, ask what was used for the forms? Then, any pieces of the rocket that would remain after the explosion would be far less likely to damage anything they might land on. Additionally, the rocket could also have a safety device that would allow the launch team to manually trigger it to explode should it malfunction or go out of control.
While I was at TRW, I presented my proposal to them. They liked it and said that, they being in the rocket business, they knew this could be done. However, TRW would not fund a program such as this out of their own pocket. Instead, TRW told me that I had to find the right party that would see the merits of the elimination of tornadoes and that would commit to a development program. Once I had found that party, TRW said that I would need to make the initial contact, introduce that party to them and then they would take it from that point. Unfortunately, I never did find any party to take me up on my tornadoes proposal here and it is now been almost 37 years as of now (June 2011). This doesn't mean that I haven't looked because I have, and I still continue to look. Details are in my Not Invented Here (NIH) syndrome log.
Now that you have read the proposal and its NIH syndrome log in its entirety, and you had the capability: what would you do about tornadoes?