Humans have dreamed of taking control of the weather long before Superman and James Bond villains plotted world domination.
Growing concerns over climate change and major disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the deadly tornado outbreaks in Oklahoma have only increased our desire to stop severe weather in its tracks. We've put vehicles on Mars and invented the Internet — why can't we alter the weather?
It hasn't been for lack of trying. In the last 200 years, the clouds have proven a resilient adversary, according to the Boston Globe, resisting well-funded and imaginative attempts at manipulation by meteorologists, physicists and hobbyists.
Ideas have ranged from building massive rain towers to alleviate drought to using anti-aircraft guns loaded with silver iodide to keep rain away from the Beijing Olympics.
Here's a look at some of these ideas and technologies, and the colorful history behind weather control attempts:
Flying Supersonic Jets into Hurricanes
University of Akron at Ohio professor Arkadii Leonov and his colleagues applied for the patent for this method in 2008, as New Scientist reported.
In a nutshell, a pilot would fly a supersonic jet aircraft in concentric circles around the eye of the hurricane. The jets would generate a sonic boom that would disrupt the upward flow of warm air that creates the hurricane. Because sonic booms spread out as they travel away from the aircraft, even a small number of jets could do the job, Leonov explained to i09.
A former director of NOAA's Hurricane Research division, Hugh Willoughby, told i09 he wasn't keen on the idea.
"The shock wave is like a very intense sound wave that passes through the meteorological motions without affecting them much," he said. "The metaphor of shouting in the wind is apt."