There’s a reason parts of the midwest are referred to as Tornado Alley – year after year, more and more tornadoes seem to make themselves at home throughout this stretch of the United States. As someone who has spent a big chunk of their life living in and around Tornado Alley, I can tell you with certainty that it more than lives up to its name. And, as someone who experienced the Joplin tornado of 5/22/2011, when I heard that there was a physicist out there who believed he had a solution for minimizing the tornadoes that spawn here, my ears perked up.
I am not a meteorologist or a tornado expert, so my knowledge of this subject only stems from firsthand experience – but it seems like the idea proposed by physicist Dr. Rongjia Tao is a pretty simple and straightforward one. How does he propose that we minimize the amount of tornadoes in Tornado Alley, specifically around the state of Oklahoma? He thinks we should build some tall walls.
How Do You Stop A Tornado?
Dr. Tao, who hails from Temple University, thinks that a set of 3 walls, each 1,000 feet high and approximately 150 feet wide, would greatly reduce the threat of tornadoes developing in Tornado Alley. One wall would be placed along the state line of Oklahoma and Kansas, another in North Dakota, and the third would be placed along the state line of Texas and Louisiana.
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably asking yourself how a wall could possibly stop a tornado. According to Dr. Tao, he believes that most of the tornadoes in the midwest develop because there are no mountains that face from the west to the east to weaken air flow which ultimately allows warm air to mix with cold air, which we all know by now is a bad combination. These walls, in theory, would allow the air flow to be weakened enough so that a twister doesn’t ultimately drop out of the sky.
Will we ever see these walls become a reality? It’s hard to tell, because the cost to build the walls is extremely high, and not everyone in the scientific community thinks Dr. Tao’s ideas will work. He will present his research soon, so more answers may soon be on the way.
What do you think?
[Image via StormChase]