Bill Gates Wants to Control the Weather, Too | NBC Bay Area

Bill Gates Wants to Control the Weather, Too

And you thought the Microsoft chairman was powerful before?

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    Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, pose in the rain outside Buckingham Palace in London with the insignia of an honorary knighthood, after receiving it from Britain's Queen Elizabeth II in 2005.

    Bill Gates already controls your computers. Now he wants to control the weather.

    The billionaire Microsoft founder says he has a plan to stop hurricanes in their tracks -- sort of.

    Gates filed five patent applications earlier this month, and now they've been published in USA Today.

    The ideas propose pumping cold ocean water into a hurricane's path from barges. The water would be sucked up from the deep ocean, where temperatures are colder than at the surface.

    Hurricanes get their force from the warm waters of the ocean. Gates' plan would in theory cool the sea surface and thus slow the hurricane and keep it from becoming more powerful.

    In the patent applications, the method is "not limited to atmospheric management, weather management, hurricane suppression, hurricane prevention, hurricane intensity modulation [or] hurricane deflection."

    And you thought Bill Gates was too powerful already?

    No one expects quick approval of the Microsoft mogul's idea -- but experts say it's plausible.

    A hurricane expert told USA Today said cooling sea surface temperature under the eye of a hurricane by just 4.5 degrees would kill it.

    "This would have to be done on a massive scale, but is still probably within the realm of feasibility," Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said. USA Today talked to two other experts who agree the idea is worth pursuing. They said making the water colder would cut down the speed and strength of a hurricane, but they cautioned that the technique would not necessarily change a storm's path.

    The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a nonprofit through which Gates has pursued other ambitious projects, like battling malaria in the Third World, declined to comment on the article.