Temple University physicist Rongjia Tao wants to build massive 1,000-foot high, 165-foot thick walls around the American Midwest to keep the tornadoes out. It may sound outlandish, but the proposal is based on the fact that the Chinese plains have few tornadoes. This is because they are surrounded by mountain ranges which slow down passing winds and prevent the formation of twisters.
Rongjia Tao’s proposal was published in the International Journal of Modern Physics B. The paper suggests that huge walls could eliminate tornadoes all together by preventing the mixing of warm, moist air from the Gulf and the cold air heading southbound. The 1,000-foot high walls would function in a similar way as the Chinese hill ranges, breaking the air flow and preventing winds to gain strength. Tao point out that, while there were 81 tornadoes in the United States in 2013, in China there were only three.
One of the three proposed walls should be located close to the northern border of the Tornado Alley (North Dakota), one should be in the middle (Oklahoma), while the third one should be built in the south of Texas and Luisiana.
Although Tao believes in the feasibility of the project, he knows the possibility of actually building the walls is quite remote. “While building the three great walls will eventually eliminate major tornadoes in the entire Tornado Alley, it is unrealistic to expect such huge project to start in near future because of the costs and other factors,” he said.