When it comes to unconventional proposal to control the weather, NBC News probably holds the prize with this gem, which we discussed back in January: "A last-ditch global warming fix? A man-made ‘volcanic’ eruption” to cool the planet. Scientists and some environmentalists believe nations might have to mimic volcanic gases as a last-ditch effort to protect Earth from extreme warming."
Another just as ridiculous proposal to "control" atmospheric events emerged during the Eisenhower era, when a government scientist proposed detonating a nuclear bomb over the eye of a hurricane to counteract convection currents.
Why do we bring it up? Because according to an Axios report late on Sunday (which if capital markets weren't collapsing and China wasn't on the edge of invading Hong Kong would have been the top watercooler discussing point tomorrow, but as it stands will hardly make the top 10 most shocking weekend developments) President Trump "suggested multiple times to senior Homeland Security and national security officials that they explore using nuclear bombs to stop hurricanes from hitting the United States."
Is Axios just making stuff up to paint Trump in a crazy light? Perhaps: the publication cotes "sources who have heard the president's private remarks and been briefed on a National Security Council memorandum that recorded those comments", so yes, the left-leaning outlet may have simply brought us another example of "fake news." On the other hand, if true it would be, as Mark Carney would call it "awesome" - after all what better way to lose the reserve currency status of the dollar than its sovereign nation randomly lobbing nukes across the globe... and why not its own territory."
So what do Axios claim happened?
During one hurricane briefing at the White House, Trump said, "I got it. I got it. Why don't we nuke them?" according to one source who was there. "They start forming off the coast of Africa, as they're moving across the Atlantic, we drop a bomb inside the eye of the hurricane and it disrupts it. Why can't we do that?"
Other (once again anonymous) sources told Axios that Trump has suggested multiple times to senior Homeland Security and national security officials that they explore using nuclear bombs to stop hurricanes from hitting the United States, according to sources who have heard the president's private remarks and been briefed on a National Security Council memorandum that recorded those comments.
Asked how the briefer reacted, the source recalled he said something to the effect of, "Sir, we'll look into that."
Trump replied by asking incredulously how many hurricanes the U.S. could handle and reiterating his suggestion that the government intervene before they make landfall.
The briefer "was knocked back on his heels," the source in the room added. "You could hear a gnat fart in that meeting. People were astonished. After the meeting ended, we thought, 'What the f---? What do we do with this?'"
One reason: because this is an idea that's been around for decades, and frequently floated seriously. That said, while Axios clearly is intent on making Trump look (even more) insane, there is no indication that the president is actually pushing ahead with the proposal to start nuking air masses.
Meanwhile, even Axios admits that "the idea keeps resurfacing in the public even though scientists agree it won't work. The myth has been so persistent that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. government agency that predicts changes in weather and the oceans, published an online fact sheet for the public under the heading Tropical Cyclone Myths Page, titled "Why don't we try to destroy tropical cyclones by nuking them?"
The page states: "Apart from the fact that this might not even alter the storm, this approach neglects the problem that the released radioactive fallout would fairly quickly move with the tradewinds to affect land areas and cause devastating environmental problems. Needless to say, this is not a good idea."
Responding to the article, a senior administration official said, "we don't comment on private discussions that the president may or may not have had with his national security team." A different senior administration official, who has been briefed on the president's hurricane bombing suggestion, defended Trump's idea and said it was no cause for alarm. "His goal — to keep a catastrophic hurricane from hitting the mainland — is not bad," the official said. "His objective is not bad."
"What people near the president do is they say 'I love a president who asks questions like that, who’s willing to ask tough questions.' ... It takes strong people to respond to him in the right way when stuff like this comes up. For me, alarm bells weren't going off when I heard about it, but I did think somebody is going to use this to feed into 'the president is crazy' narrative."
Axios also notes that 3 weeks after Trump's 2016 election, National Geographic published an article titled, "Nuking Hurricanes: The Surprising History of a Really Bad Idea." It found, among other problems, that:
Dropping a nuclear bomb into a hurricane would be banned under the terms of the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union. So that could stave off any experiments, as long as the U.S. observes the terms of the treaty.
Whether this story is true or not, we doubt that hurricanes have much to worry about. Now, if we were Fed Chair Powell, we would be far more concerned.
Trump deciding who to nuke first: Iran or the Marriner Eccles building— zerohedge (@zerohedge) July 19, 2019