Panama Canal, Panama (IP) Hurricane Felix was weakened by icebergs towed in front of its path by Panamanian scientists working aboard Panamanian navy ships borrowed from the military.
The icebergs had been towed northward from the Antarctic region. Large outboard engines had been placed on the aft section of the icebergs after being mounted on top of special adapters designed for that purpose. The front of the icebergs had been carved into a pointy bow shape and then a layer of plastic was used to cover the icebergs new bow so that they would not melt on their way to the hurricane's path. A layer of dry ice was sprayed onto the iceberg's surfaces to help maintain the icebergs temperature.
The thrust provided by the engines on the iceberg's sterns helped to speed up the process of towing the icebergs northward. Admiral Manuelito Noriega III was the commanding officer on board the lead ship, Panamanian Navy Destroyer El Guapo, which is capable of steaming along at almost 54 knots thanks to the use of jet turbines on the ship's surface.
The icebergs are believed to be responsible for lowering the hurricanes's strength from category 5 down to a category 3.
In the future the motorized icebergs will be equipped with navigation devices linked to GPS and will be capable of being sent to intercept hurricanes by remote control. Studies are also under way to determine if icebergs can be utilized for climate modification of land masses and also for use in warfare. One scenario envisions icebergs being used as launch platforms for missiles or even civilian space launch applications.