The London Tornadium

There's been a tornado in NW London: "At least six people were injured and hundreds left homeless when the tornado swept through Kensal Rise at around 11am, tearing the roofs and walls off houses. Eyewitnesses said it lasted for up to 40 seconds; one man said he heard a sound 'like standing behind a jetliner'."
It was a "genuine twister."

[Images: From the Daily Mail].

Although tornadoes of this kind are surprisingly frequent in the UK, the event should be taken, The Guardian suggests, as a "warning that such weather events are likely to increase in frequency because of global warming."
For instance:
    In July last year, a tornado in Birmingham damaged 1,000 buildings, causing millions of pounds of damage, while a tornado was reported just off Brighton, on the Sussex coast, this October. A mini tornado swept through the village of Bowstreet in Ceredigion, west Wales, last Tuesday. Terence Meaden, the deputy head of the Tornado and Storm Research Organisation, said the UK has the highest number of reported tornadoes for its land area of any country in the world... He added that the UK was especially susceptible to tornados because of its position on the Atlantic seaboard, where polar air from the north pole meets tropical air from the equator.
In which case, I suggest they build the London Tornadium: an architectural tornado-attractor. Combining urban design; arched viaducts; smooth, valved walls; steel pipes; and complex internal cavitation like a conch shell, the Tornadium will be a kind of urban-architectural sky-trumpet built for the cancellation of storms.
Warm winds and water vapor from the tropics will hit Arctic fronts outside Ireland, then move down toward the city... where the Tornadium, located perfectly at the vertex of converging streets, will suck all storms toward it, defusing their energy (and perhaps acting as a wind-power factory).
Anti-storm architecture. Or pro-storm architecture, for that matter.
What, after all, is the impact of urban design on meteorology?
And could a perfectly engineered great wall of high rises outside the city – each structure a honeycomb of valved passages – prevent all storms from reaching London...?

(See also Aurora Britannica, in which a superstadium full of ring magnets is proposed as a means to trap the Northern Lights in central London).

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9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the BBC news report two different eye witnesses compared it to a scene from the Wizard of Oz. Coincidence?

December 07, 2006 3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone in the US knows that tornados are attracted to the aluminum siding that mobile homes are made of. This is why trailer parks are their most common target.

December 07, 2006 3:42 PM  
Blogger Geoff Manaugh said...

They should ship all their siding to London, to help build the Tornadium... And get a tax deduction, perhaps.

December 07, 2006 3:47 PM  
Blogger garyalexander said...

No coincidence - the Wizard of Oz is the only reference Londoner's have for tornados.

December 07, 2006 5:54 PM  
Anonymous cenoxo said...

...tornados are attracted to the aluminum siding that mobile homes are made of.

They occur so often in Tornado Alley that you might think so. And if, as some suggest, tornadoes are electrically generated, then perhaps the Tornadiums — think Tesla Towers, not a vented Maginot Line — would be sheathed in copper to attract them more strongly.

The towers will need large wooden trebuchets (unaffected by electical disturbances) roundabout to launch turtles into the storms to gauge their strength. More details at "Getting up close and personal..." here.

Once a tornado is within range, barrages of fused, solid-fueled lightning rockets can be fired into it to discharge its power back to Earth (or to reservoir-sized banks of Leyden jars), stopping it cold. Imagine a huge Taser working in reverse.

Tornadoes will go out with a big flash-bang, not a whimper. A grand fireworks show for the citizenry, then grateful applause, biscuits, and tea.

Sound like a plan?

December 08, 2006 3:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pull them all down now. Why stop there. Queens Park and Harlsden as well.

December 08, 2006 2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are there really more tornadoes now and in the future? Or are we just bound to run into them more and more?

December 08, 2006 7:34 PM  
Anonymous juniorbonner said...

"sky-trumpet built for the cancellation of storms"

what kind of jazz would this play?

December 09, 2006 9:01 AM  
Anonymous orangemenace said...

My ninjas, please. Don't any of you listen to King, ahem, 'President' Bush? There's no such thing as global warming. In fact, those tornadoes are nothing more than a figment of the left's imagination, sent to scare us all into disliking republicans...

December 11, 2006 5:10 PM  

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