Wind of Destructive Force and Considerable Duration

“The term hurricane has its origin in the indigenous religions of past civilizations. The Mayan storm god was named Hunraken. A god considered evil by the Taino people of the Caribbean was called Huracan” (noaa.gov 2005). Ready.gov describes a hurricane as “a type of tropical cyclone or severe tropical storm that forms in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and in the eastern Pacific Ocean.” It further states that they are accompanied by thunderstorms and spin counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere. These storms can cause damage on very large scales and impact the lives of all who lie in its path. In this report, I will discuss the different parts of a hurricane, how they work, how they are studied and any new discoveries made in regard to hurricanes.

General Overview

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So how do hurricanes work and what causes them? According to NOAA.gov, hurricanes come from climates that are tropical, warm, and moist. They are “powered by heat from the sea” and “are typically steered by the surrounding deep layer (from the ocean’s surface to 8 miles up) easterly winds, generally south of 25° north latitude and by high-level westerly winds of 25° north latitude” (noaa.gov, 2005). Heat from the ocean, added moisture from evaporation, and strong wind patterns all work together to form the hurricane.

The air circulates inward and with the addition of thunderstorms adding warmth to the equation, the hurricane will strengthen. The parts of the hurricane include the eye and eyewall. The eye is pretty much calm. There are very few clouds and only light winds and sinking air. The highest and most destructive winds are in the eyewall. It is here that the air is “propelled outward, increasing the air’s upward motion” (NOAA.gov, 2005). Of the devastating impacts hurricanes have, there are storm surges, storm tides, flooding, heavy winds, and even tornadoes.

Methods of Study and Tools Used

There are several different tools scientists and meteorologists use to track and study hurricanes. Satellites are used to monitor all types of weather. The United States sent up its first satellite to monitor weather conditions in 1960. The satellite, TIROS “opened the door for meteorologists to understand a great deal more about tropical cyclones” (weather.com, n.d.). Also used to study hurricanes was Doppler radar and aircraft. We see the radar being used all the time on the news. With the use of radar, storms and other weather conditions can be tracked across many states. Aircraft is used to study hurricanes by flying over the storm and dropping equipment into the storm’s eye to measure the strength of the storm.

New Discoveries

According to NSF.gov, “atmospheric scientists have uncovered fresh evidence to support the theory that global warming has contributed to the emergence of stronger hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean. But the trend doesn’t hold up in the world’s other oceans” (nsf.gov, 2007). They did two studies in the year prior and found connections between the global warming and stronger hurricanes. Although in the past, hurricanes have been difficult to study, satellite data has made things easier. They also have stated that even though they can clearly see this “correlation between global warming and hurricane strength” they “still need to understand exactly why the Atlantic is reacting to warmer temperatures in this way” (nsf.gov, 2007).

Unanswered Questions

According to Scott Braun, a research meteorologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, “the biggest questions are related to storm formation and intensification. While we know the conditions that favor development, we still do not know the exact mechanisms by which tropical disturbance becomes a tropical storm or hurricane” (earthobservatory.nasa.gov, 2011). He further stated that they were not sure if the storm formation was actually determined by “the environment of the disturbance or by processes inside the disturbance” (earthobservatory.nasa.gov, 2011).

Conclusion

In my research of this topic, I found that there is still much we need to learn about hurricanes. The more we learn, the more we can prepare for the disasters that are associated with these storms. Every year there are tropical storms and hurricanes that impact many people all over the globe.

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Wind of Destructive Force and Considerable Duration. (2017, Apr 26). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/short-report-hurricanes/