Inventors think they could reduce storm havoc
By Paul Lomartire
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
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For three years, the Jupiter businessman and inventor has been trying to get hurricane experts to consider his super-absorbant product, SK-1000, which can be dumped into a hurricane to weaken it before landfall. "It will suck the moisture out of the storm and cool the storm down 15 degrees within seconds," says Cordani. "That will reduce the devastating punch. If you reduce a storm by 8 to 15 mph you can reduce 60 percent of its damage."
[Dr. Peter Ray, a Florida State University professor of meteorology] says no one can know if Cordani's idea could work until it's tested. "My goal is to do good science, not to promote this," says Ray, a Doppler radar pioneer. "But the questions can be answered using the best science available at a level done with integrity and honest scrutiny."
As for getting government hurricane experts to embrace Cordani's idea, that's naive, says Ray, who earned his doctorate at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma. "You're dealing with government agencies," he says. "Unless it was born in NOAA, it would not happen, them embracing it." But, he adds, if NOAA was given a big chunk of research money by the Congress to investigate Cordani's idea, the tests would begin immediately.
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Insurance companies were the first to listen to Cordani's patented SK-1000 process to modify weather. But hurricane experts discounted his plan. For starters, they said, no airplane was big enough to carry enough of the stuff to affect a storm, even if SK-1000 did what Cordani said it would.
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While he worked on concentrating SK-1000, Dutton, Dyn-O-Mat's president, looked for an airplane maker to design something that could haul and drop it into a hurricane. Cordani has now improved SK-1000 from absorbing 250 times its weight to 2,000 to 3,000 times its weight, so a plane would have to haul a lot less of it to affect a storm.
And Dutton got the plane built. "We finally have the big aircraft in position," he says, but he can't announce the company until the final contracts are done. The 747-sized plane will carry a 200,000-pound payload.
Buddies going all the way back to Happauge High School in Smithtown, Long Island, Cordani and Dutton quickly learned a simple fact: You can't tell certified science guys anything if you don't have a bunch of college degrees. "The key is to work with the government to bring in the dollars, the insurance conglomerate and the researchers," Dutton said.
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He did get NOAA to test his first version of SK-1000 using hurricane computer models, and it slowed the storm by 4 to 6 mph. With the improved SK-1000, he says, "we have a shot at 15 mph now.