[ExI] Hurricane Sandy

Charlie Stross charlie.stross at gmail.com
Wed Oct 31 10:20:50 UTC 2012

On 30 Oct 2012, at 20:19, Mike Dougherty <msd001 at gmail.com> wrote:
> NYC subways are flooded.  They aren't yet predicting when they'll be
> restored.  I'm sure someone thought to use the FDNY pumping trucks...
> but how much hose do they have, how much volume per second can it
> move, how much water does it take to fill the New York subway?  Even
> if you bring in naval fireboats, you'd still need quite a bit of
> plumbing to reach into the subway in order to keep supply to those
> pumps.  Does NYC have a public disaster plan?  I tried Google but
> don't know what the magic word(s) are to get to anything other than
> marketing and directions for how to make a personal disaster plan.

Per news reports I've seen in the UK, MTA commissioned a report on mega-hurricane disaster of Sandy proportions a couple of years ago, but hadn't upped their maximum anticipated disaster to match -- Sandy exceeded their "worst case" assumptions, and even after they pump everything dry and repair the damage, Sandy-proofing the subway against a future hurricane of identical proportions will probably cost billions.

> I was really looking for preemptive strikes against the hurricane
> itself.  If cloud-seeding can make rain, is there a similar something
> that can artificially/manually downgrade a hurricane?

The energy density of a hurricane is staggering, and it's driven by humidity and temperature gradients over an area the size of a sub-continent. It's not immediately obvious that we can do anything about this short of large-scale geoengineering to reduce global energy inputs. (It's not "global warming" so much as "global absorbing-more-energy-in-a-dynamic-system", resulting in wilder fluctuations and more extreme weather events. Such as Sandy.)

-- Charlie

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