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Bill Gates Seeks Patent on Hurricane Prevention


Written by Gene Quinn
Patent Attorney & Founder of IPWatchdog, Inc.
Principal Lecturer, PLI Patent Bar Review Course
Posted: July 13, 2009 @ 10:17 pm

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William H. Gates, III, of Redmond, Washington (US) is known to most throughout the world as Bill Gates, the genius behind Microsoft Corporation.  Gates is presently the Chairman of Microsoft, having transitioned out of the day-to-day leadership role on June 27, 2008, a role that allows him an opportunity to spend more time on health and education work sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Prior to stepping away from the daily grind, however, Gates managed to find time on January 3, 2008, to file some five patent applications directed to methods and systems for altering the temperature of surface water.  The goal of these inventions is to prevent or at least lessen the force of hurricanes, the fierce storms that form as a result of warm water (among other things) and gain strength from warm water.  While there are many ideas and associated solutions in the various patent applications, the primary thrust of the patent application seems to be the churning of cold water from deep below the surface to mix with warmer surface water.  The process is carried out by one or more vessels, and the hope is that using cold water from the depths of the sea hurricane intensity could be minimized, potentially saving millions (or billions) of dollars and lives.

The various patent applications, all filed on January 3, 2008, by Bill Gates and a team of other inventors, which includes Intellectual Ventures founder Nathan Myhrvold, include:

  1. US Patent Application No. 20090177569, titled: “Water alteration structure risk management or ecological alteration management systems and methods”
  2. US Patent Application No. 20090175685, titled: “Water alteration structure movement method and system”
  3. US Patent Application No. 20090173801, titled: “Water alteration structure and system having below surface valves or wave reflectors”
  4. US Patent Application No. 20090173404, titled: “Water alteration structure and system”
  5. US Patent Application No. 20090173386, titled: “Water alteration structure applications and methods”

These patent applications will no doubt be held up to ridicule in some corners.  The magnitude of effort that would be necessary to alter the surface temperature enough to make a difference would be staggering, given the sheer size of hurricanes, which can be as large as 600 miles across, and the volume of water involved with such an undertaking.  Yet, hurricanes do billions of dollars of damage every year, so it is indeed understandable why inventors, including Bill Gates, are keenly interested in controlling these powerful storms.

According to these patent applications, which all seem to share a common specification but boast different claims:

It is well known that a hurricane’s primary energy source is the release of the heat of condensation of water vapor condensing at high altitudes, with solar-derived heat being the initial source for evaporation. Therefore, a hurricane may be seen as a giant vertical heat engine, albeit one dependent upon mass supplied by largely horizontal flows. Water condensation leads to higher wind speeds, as a fraction of the released energy is converted immediately into thermal energy and thence into mechanical energy, the faster winds and lower pressures associated with them in turn cause increased surface evaporation and thus even more subsequent condensation. Much of the released energy drives updrafts that increase the height of speeding up condensation. This gives rise to factors that provide the system with enough energy to be self-sustaining, and result in a positive feedback loop that continues as long as the tropical cyclone can draw energy from a thermal reservoir and isn’t excessively sheared along its vertical extent. In this case, the heat source is the warm water at the surface of the ocean. Without this thermal reservoir to support it a hurricane or other similar storm will not commence, will be weaker, or will die out as the positive feedback loop diminishes to sub-threshold levels or never gets above them.

According to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), low sea surface temperatures can spell death for a hurricane, as happened in 1998 when the cold water Hurricane Bonnie left in its wake caused Hurricane Danielle, which was following close behind, to dissipate.  See What Lies Beneath a Hurricane.  Thus, there is reason to suspect that a significant amount of cold water could cause a hurricane to dissipate.  Therefore, it seems logical to attempt to create a man-made wake of cold water.

There seems to be two primary methods discussed in the patent applications.  First, the lower depths of the ocean may be used as a huge heat/energy sink.  In this method warm ocean surface water is pushed in a downward direction to exit into the cold ocean depths, operating in a continuous cycle.  Second, while the primary conduit pushes water down, in an alternative version a secondary conduit may be used to bring cold water to the surface to aid in cooling the warm surface water regions by mixing of subsurface water with surface water.

The patent applications also explain that due to the wind and waves the temperature of ocean water may be relatively uniform up to several hundred feet below the surface, but below that the temperature begins to drop rapidly.

In most circumstances, most of the sunlight impinging on the ocean surface is absorbed in the surface layer. The surface layer therefore heats up. Wind and waves move water in this surface layer which distributes heat within it. The temperature may therefore be reasonably uniform to depths extending a few hundred feet down from the ocean surface. Below this mixed layer, however, the temperature decreases rapidly with depth, for example, as much as 20 degrees Celsius with an additional 150 m (500 ft) of depth. This area of rapid transition is called the thermocline. Below it, the temperature continues to decrease with depth, but far more gradually. In the Earth’s oceans, approximately 90% of the mass of water is below the thermocline. This deep ocean consists of layers of substantially equal density, being poorly mixed, and may be as cold as ?2 to 3° C.

While the magnitude of the effort might be considerable, perhaps even to the point that it may never become feasible, the physics involved are plausible, and looking at the heat graph above showing how Danielle never materialized it does not seem as if there is a large temperature difference required.  Perhaps it is unrealistic to think that anything man made could dissipate a hurricane, but perhaps lessening hurricanes is far more possible.  Given the harm caused by hurricanes, there will no doubt be some who continue to follow this and other paths in an effort to control their deadly and damaging affects.

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About the Author

is a Patent Attorney and the founder of the popular blog IPWatchdog.com, which has for three of the last four years (i.e., 2010, 2012 and 2103) been recognized as the top intellectual property blog by the American Bar Association. He is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus his specialty is electronic and computer devices, Internet applications, software and business methods.

 

14 comments
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  1. Hmmm . . , as large amounts of warm ocean water would be mixed with cooler ocearn water, then the oceans will warm up to a slight degree . . . and the oceans volumes expands . . . which is already happening with global warming . . . and the sea surface rises . . . more than this already is with global warming . . . and we store this heat energy rather than dissipating this energy in air movement. If global warming is correct, then we have “too much heat energy” already.

    Could hurricanes be one way to release this heat energy, despite their destructiveness for those who live in their paths? Hurricanes release tremendous amount of energy, from heat to air movement. Just google (or Bill Gates would prefer you Bing) to read on the amount of heat energy dissipated in hurricanes.

    To effectively dissipate hurricanes, this water cooler would have to be done weeks or months in advance of hurricanes. Large amounts of heat would be stored . . . could we eventually have “global cooking” if this were to run hurricane reduction process were to run for decades (lots of heat storage)? Or maybe we could shutdown the Gulf stream current, freeze Europe and cook the equatorial regions. and on and on . . .

  2. Scooter-

    Is your first paragraph suggesting that mixing warm water with cold water makes the water warmer than it was to start with? That seems to be what you suggest, which obviously is not what would happen.

    -Gene

  3. While hurricanes do cause extensive damage they pay for their keep by moving heat from tropical areas to northern climes and supply fresh water to a thirsty planet. Read CHICKEN SOUP AND HURRICANES on http://www.globalweathersolutions.com for more.

    Thanks,

    JB

  4. EarthShield tm
    Perhaps, it beter can be accomplished -the localy cooling of the surface waters- by an (foldable) umbrella in space, by (re)positioning and thus shielding just the needed area from the sun. Yes, even with an allover blue sky! The higher in space (the closer to the sun), the higher the shaded area. I like to call it ‘EarthShield tm’. Take care, Eric

  5. Wonder if the environmental consequences were considered. For example, would this disrupt the deep-ocean circulation known as “overturning” (a conveyor belt-like process in which cold and salty water exchanges with warm surface water) in the Southern Hemisphere?

  6. Gene – What I think he was suggesting is much as a ceiling fan moves pockets of warm air in a room to be cooled with an AC unit, you would bring up colder water to be warmed by the Sun. Before the process, the cold water would stay cold due to the fact that the Sun could not reach it. This could have far reaching effects. For example, look at the weather patterns of the USA at this very moment due to a little warming of our friend El Nino. There also some evidence of a La Nina type of cooling in the Atlantic Ocean that causes some drought conditions, or at least drier conditions in Brazil. Basically, we are asking once again, “What is good for us?” Do we try and lessen the monatary toll a hurricane takes on the shores of the US only to ship money off to Japan when they take catastophic damage from a major Typhoon. If you look when we humans get envolved, no matter our intentions, we seem to screw stuff up when we try to control nature. Also, if you have time, look into cloud seeding that the US military did on hurricanes, on the trailing edge. It caused the energy to release faster through heavier rain fall thus weakening the hurricane. The Mexican government had a fit due to the fact that hurricanes that strike the US bring them much needed rainfall. Maybe we could leave well enough alone? Just wondering.

  7. Dear Friends. I share with you the unpublished letters sent to the Editor at Newsweek; I got in touch with
    Mr. Gates Foundation, but to no avail. Does anyone out there have any helpful comments?

    Bill Gates wants to kill hurricanes forever.?
    From: Rodrigo Hernandez (windowpocket@hotmail.com)
    Sent: Saturday, July 25, 2009 9:00:31 PM
    To: editors@newsweek.com

    Dear Editors: The main idea in this invention I sent to you on September 23rd. of the year 2002 (please see below). I also sent the E-mail copy to info@iri.columbia.edu Please look into your server for said date/E-mail from this

    same E-mail address (windowpocket@hotmail.com)

    I do have a physical copy of the mentioned document, and I am sure the people at Hotmail could cooperate in providing further proof, for all that I want is to be given credit for the main idea and perhaps be part of a Think-tank, so to speak.

    I trust completely in Mr. Bill Gates good will and honesty, and know for sure, that if this note gets to his attention, he will order the scanning of my e-mail account (which I authorize here) and also do a friendly interrogation to the scientists to find out that I am truthful in my assertions. Thru 2000/02 I also shared the idea with several scientific recipients via E-mail, in the hope to be listened to, but no one replied.

    Best regards,

    Rodrigo Hernandez-Muriel

    Toa Alta, Puerto Rico 00953

    Mind-storming down storms!

    Dear friends: I think that so far we have done nothing to prevent the forming of these abortions of Nature; we just watch them, and a couple of times, we have tried to stop them by feeding them something from the top, in a futile attempt, for at that moment the phenomenon has already packed power equal to an atomic bomb.

    The fact is that a developing storm feeds primarily on the warm, 80 of. ocean SURFACE

    water, and when it crosses cooler waters, it looses its source of power and the winds slow down gradually.

    My idea is, paraphrasing Neruda, simple as a ring: To build or refurbish a small submarine with several powerful Dry-Prime-Pumps, with thousands of gallons per hour capability. Also some Cryogenic tunnel-freezers in the middle of the ship, and at the other end, exhaust lines, all interconnected.

    If we place said submarine below the center of a FORMING storm, when it is still small in diameter, then, from one side of the ship, four telescoping suction lines with separators in between them, are thrown up with strong inflated-on-the-spot balloons, attached so, that these ends will be close enough to the surface as to bring warm water with no air, into the tunnel-freezer and let it out thru the exhaust lines, 30 or more degrees cooler. This could bring down the SURFACE temperature 3 to 5 degrees down. Said lines are also telescoping, only that their balloons will FORCE them to protrude out into the air, so that the cold water will disperse. The sub will be circumnavigating slowly, counterclockwise.

    Three of these ships could take care of a whole region, and the cost would be peanuts compared with the 200 BILLION dollars that the darn things have produced in damages since 1954.

    Truly yours, Rodrigo Hernandez-Muriel

    Guaynabo, Pueto Rico 00969

    ——————————————————————————–
    What can you do with the new Windows Live? Find out

  8. If the nature of the universe is perpetual, you would have to conclude a hurricane is too. Warming the water or cooling it going to make any difference. If you want to fix a hurricane you need to find out what pushing and pulling on each other. Since it is perpetual, trust me, all you need to do is counteract the pull. So all a hurricane is two reaction of air that provide a balance of nature you don’t mess with, this idiot will destroy the world if you let him.

  9. Dear Mr. Quinn in a letter to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation I offered this idea to possibly kill storms in the gulf with absolutely no strings attached and I am blown away by the fact that he pursued it ,but was never answered on my original purpose of contacting him.which was possible help with my patent development which can be veiwed by a link on http:/rawideasinc.intuitwebsites.com .I SEEK NO RECOGNITION for suggesting this idea originally but was made aware by a friend having not thought it possible that possibly Mr Gates did not read my letter and someone else may have brought this idea to him after reading it and disposing of my letter.Having not been contacted by him with a simple acknoledgment personally seems far from the image I HAVE OF HIM and hope to find some resolution. I can share more with you about my ideas
    for my patent, if you leave me a message in feedback through my site .

  10. correction to website address in previous post http://rawideasinc.intuitwebsites.com left out a slash sorry

  11. thanks for this post mate. hope you have a good day. thanks. :)

  12. IT occurs to me that all these plans to control the formation of Hurricanes are so elaborate they are domed to failure at great expence.
    If Mr Gates is interested in a simple idea to prove the concept of lowering the surface temperature several degrees to disrupt the formation of hurricanes.
    As mentioned in other comments above there will be consiquences what they will be is sepculation but to the 600 square mile area of the ocean there will be a domino effect
    That said we allready have the means to accomplish a test of the theory of lowering the surface temperature
    by useing liquid cng ships filled with liquid air with the added rigging of equipment to liquify air at the location
    and just pumping it into the ocean would cause the surface temperature drop
    Yes I know sounds simple and it may even sound stupid but usually ideas like this work and since this is to test the Idea it is quite feasiable at a resonable cost.
    With several ships and millions of gallons of liquide air pumped into the ocean this should cause a large area of the ocean tobe lowered in temperature for one hurricane season
    If all these scientists believe this will work be prepared for the dominos

  13. Subject: Anti-Hurricane Technology Perfected

    August 11 , 2013

    Nathan Rogers
    Cave Creek, Arizona USA
    623.694.0097

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    My group of scientists and I for several years now have been working toward a solution to our planets Hurricane, Tornado, Cyclone and Typhoon storm DILEMMA. To my knowledge a Hurricane has never been neutralized by man before now.

    I believe, without a doubt, we have discovered a SAFE, HUMAN FRIENDLY, GREEN SOLUTION to save hundreds of lives annually and $25+ Billion in property damage annually just in the USA alone with the use of our new Anti-Storm Technology. Our technology is scientifically derived from “Russilian Science” using Centripetal Magnetics. Not only can our technology prevent the formation of Hurricanes, Typhoons, Tornados and Cyclones but it can slow down and stop a full force Hurricane with winds exceeding 75mph and transform it into nothing more than a cloud formation.

    Most recently to see our technology in action, one can view the infrared satellite image history of tropical storm Dorian 2013 in the North Atlantic and see its demise as it formed off the coast of Africa. Shortly after Tropical Storm Dorian formed and had gained wind gusts of up to 65 mph that I could see then Dorian began to unravel and fall apart. A clockwise energy rotation began to appear on the outer perimeter. This happened several more times over the next few days as 3pm is the height of daily solar activity. Dorian looked as if it was trying to reform again, however weakening each consecutive day. What I mean by this is, once a storm of this magnitude forms, we believe there is an electromagnetic vortex beneath the ocean’s surface extending upward from the core of the planet to the upper atmosphere. This electromagnetic vortex carries the momentum and supplies the energy to the atmospheric side of the storm. Once this electromagnetic vortex connection is made from the core of the earth to the upper atmosphere it is very difficult to slow down. As you are aware this electromagnetic energy vortex spins counter clockwise in the Northern hemisphere. Dorian’s energy above the ocean was neutralized by our tech spinning Dorian clockwise magnetically the opposite direction it had been spinning. However, Dorian’s energy spin or electromagnetic vortex under the water was still spinning counter clockwise and we believe this is why the atmospheric Dorian above the ocean’s surface kept trying to reform over the next few days.

    I firmly believe without a doubt our technology led to the demise of tropical storm Dorian. One could see the eye wall of Dorian spinning counter clockwise but with the use of our new Anti-Storm Technology the outer perimeter of Dorian was beginning to spin in a clockwise motion, ripping Dorian apart over a period of a few days. Dorian was not able to reform to anything other than a large thunder storm then dissipating into thin air. Dorian did NOT cause any significant damage to life or property that we know of as it neared Florida, USA then drifted into nothing North Easterly into the North Atlantic.

    We are very excited to offer you this technology fathered by the one and only, Dr. Walter Russell and Lao Russell or “Russilian Science” based Centripetal Magnetics and we are extremely excited to discuss possibilities with you about this HUGE step in MANKIND.

    I know with your genius and our amazing new technology we can make this a true MILESTONE in the human chain of evolution.

    I ask you, Will YOU, be remembered as the PERSON who helped bring this technology to the forefront and CONQUER the most powerful force of Nature? Or will it be someone else?

    If you are interested in this new exciting technology please contact me.

    Thank you.

    Sincerely,
    Nathan Rogers
    Azman67@aol.com

  14. Then I too will come forward here.
    Mine is a device to deactivate tornadoes.
    Went storm chasing in May, KS/OK area for readings to help verify
    and spoke with people in the know, all signals go.
    Need to buy certain equipment in research/development underway.
    If I were the investor I would be honored to be the one who fast tracks it.
    Sole investor can improve the world, can be you the reader, send me a note.

    Gary Hawkins
    Seattle, WA
    garyha@nrgcycle.com
    http://twisterbuster.com/
    also http://nrgcycle.com/