You Wanna Build A WHAT In Kansas?
March 3, 2014

You Wanna Build A WHAT In Kansas?

There are many famous walls in the world: Hadrian’s Wall, The Great Wall of China, the Wailing Wall. The list could go on, but one wall I’m sure we won’t be seeing anytime soon is the Weather Walls of Kansas.

In a new study, Temple University physicist Rongjia Tao has proposed a rather novel solution to Tornado Alley: walls. Oklahoma City TV station KOCO reports that Tao claims three giant east-west structures would weaken airflow in the region, preventing tornadoes from hitting tornado alley. These walls would need to be around 1,000 feet high and 150 feet wide.

Luckily, I am not the only one who thinks that this is some kinda crazy ass idea. Meteorologists have said that Tao needs to stick to physics and leave meteorology to the experts.

“He’s basing this off of looking at China and seeing east-west mountain ranges in China that are about that high that he says protects China from tornadoes,” said Harold Brooks, senior research scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Severe Storms Laboratory.

According to Brooks, Tao’s arguments have major flaws. You think?

Let’s just consider the sheer size. Those giant wind turbines you see in Kansas, Oklahoma and other places? According to National Wind Watch, even counting the blade, those only average 328 feet tall. Tao is talking about building three structures that are three times taller, each.

Let’s not even look at the cost, the sheer ugliness, and the giant targets for graffiti and tagging that these walls would represent.

But back to why Brooks thinks Tao should stick to physics. “You shouldn’t talk about something you don’t know anything about,” he said.

“He ignores the fact that actually China has tornadoes that occur in it and that there are already mountains that high in the central part of the United States like the Witchitas and the Ozarks and all that don’t seem to do a very good job of stopping anything with tornadoes anyway,” Brooks said.

Since his paper is still under consideration for publication, Tao is not allowed to comment to the media.

Image Credit: Thinkstock


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