BUBBLE CURTAIN AS TROPICAL CYCLONE MITIGATION
INTRODUCING THE BUBBLE CURTAIN
A Bubble Curtain is a perforated pipe lowered in the water. This pipe is placed across a stretch of ocean, such as a narrow straight, and works by supplying bubbles of compressed air to the deep. When the bubbles rise, they bring with them the cold deep-sea water to the surface, and this cold water cools the warm ocean surface. Norway has used bubble curtains for decades to keep fjords free of ice since Norwegian winters see ocean surfaces drop well below freezing temperatures.
Tropical Cyclones are generated when masses of hot and cold air collide above warm ocean water. The Tropical Cyclones obtain their energy from the ocean surface when – crucially – the surface water temperature is above 26.5 °C. Cooling the surface water would deprive the hurricanes of their energy source, potentially stopping them before they make landfall, or at least stopping them from developing into stronger Tropical Cyclones.
We are currently working to demonstrate the potential of our solution at scale. If successfully implemented, it would be immensely helpful in saving human lives, the environment, and the economy.
If you wish to learn more about the formation of hurricanes and typhoons, we recommend watching the video below, prepared by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):
VIRTUAL PROOF OF CONCEPT
Alongside leading research institution SINTEF, we have achieved Virtual Proof of Concept through simulation in a relevant environment.
In the figure to the right, we see how the concept successfully reduces sea surface temperatures to below 26.5C (80F) in the model and spreads out with the help of natural ocean currents.
A report from this project can be accessed here.
THE FIRST DEEPWATER TEST
A pilot project in Norway – alongside leading research institution SINTEF – has demonstrated that our bubble curtain can bring deep and cold water to the ocean surface. We are now further developing our technology to improve efficiency and scalability.
To our knowledge, this trial of the bubble curtain technology is the deepest application to date. From 50 meters below the sea surface, we were able to lift up water and reduce the surface temperature to only 0.5 degrees Celsius lower than at the depth of the bubble curtain.
Necessary next steps include testing at 150-200 meters depth.
Aerial drone footage of test
Underwater view of bubble curtain
Visualization of change in sea surface temperatures