Tornadoes are as much of a given in the Midwest as cornfields and county fairs. In an average year, twisters kill 80 people and injure more than 1,500, so you can imagine the excitement when a physics professor proposed an end to the annual misery: three great walls, each about 1,000 feet (300 meters) tall, that could potentially block the deadly storms of Tornado Alley.
But the idea didn't impress meteorological scientists. Never mind the huge cost, ecological consequences and engineering difficulties involved in the scheme, weather experts say it just wouldn't work.
"The first time somebody mentioned it to me, I thought they were actually joking," said Paul Markowski, a professor of meteorology at Penn State. "There are crazy ideas that could at least work, and then there are crazy ideas that wouldn't even work theoretically." [5 Wild Weather Control Ideas]
The basic goal of the proposal, put forth in the International Journal of Modern Physics B by Rongjia Tao, a physicist at Temple University, is to thwart the "violent air mass clashes" that spawn punishing tornadoes.