Hurricane 'Debbie' gained in strength Thursday (22 August) as it moved on a northwesterly course through the South Atlantic toward the east coast of the United States. 'Debbie', the second major hurricane of the season, was apparently completely unaffected by two seedings of silver iodide crystals.
C-130 Hercules aircraft in flight, ??? views of clouds near center of hurricane, interior views cockpit, shot of engine, looking upward into circular gap in clouds (the top of the 'eye' or calm area in storm's center), interior cloud walls in 'eye', ocean surface and clouds in eye, crewman putting instrument into drop chute, more views of the 'eye' in the center of the storm.
EDITORS NOTE: The strength of a hurricane is in direct proportion to its heat content--heat contained in the water vapor carried by the storm. Water vapor is sucked up in enormous quantities from the pawning area in the Caribbean and South Atlantic. By natural methods the storm would loose its head--and force--by being deprived of the water in the form of rain or hail. This happens when it cools after hitting a major land mass or by moving into a colder region of the ocean.
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Background: Hurricane 'Debbie' gained in strength Thursday (22 August) as it moved on a northwesterly course through the South Atlantic toward the east coast of the United States. 'Debbie', the second major hurricane of the season, was apparently completely unaffected by two seedings of silver iodide crystals.
The seeding of the hurricane was a scientific experiment called Project Stormfury. On Monday, and again Wednesday, 16 Navy jet fighter dropped more than a ton of iodide crystals into the storm. Weather scientists conducted the experiment to determine if the seedings could diminish Debbie's strength or otherwise alter its behavior.
After each seeding, a U.S. Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft flew into Debbie for visual and instrument observation of any possible effects from the seeding. Several temperature and humidity-reading instruments were parachuted into the storm, and transmitted measurement back to the aircraft.
Following the Wednesday mission scientists reported the seeding had no apparent affect on the hurricane and no further seedings were planned.
In theory, small droplets of water collect around the descending iodide crystals, and the droplets increase in size until heavy enough to fall through the turbulence and winds as rain.
Seeding of rain clouds by this method has had some success in various parts of the world. Two previous attempts to seed hurricanes--in 1961 and 1963-- also produced no results.