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Tornadoes represent the most dangerous and destructive of storms. This paper describes a concept for disrupting the formation of tornadoes in a thunderstorm. Beamed microwave energy from a satellite heats cold rain to affect convective forces in the storm cell. This describes a Thunderstorm Solar Power Satellite (TSPS). The TSPS is based on Space Solar Power Program (SSP) concepts and technology. The concept was evaluated in a numerical simulation using the Advanced Regional Prediction System Code at the Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms (CAPS). Conditions for tornado formation were affected in the simulation. Additional simulation is proposed to determine the specific areas to be heated and the intensity of directed energy to affect tornadogenesis. Benefits from taming tornadoes provide a basis for initial government investment in TSPS. The potential benefits are balanced by reservations about safety. Demonstration of technology and operations may lead to commercial investment in space solar power. We conclude that the TSPS concept merits additional analysis, numerical simulation, and demonstration testing.
Date of Publication: June 2007