Saturday, September 18, 2021

News agencies explain how hurricanes form


The Globe and Mail, a Toronto-based newspaper, has published an extensive guide about the science behind the formation of hurricanes.

Hurricane Irma barrels toward Florida (NASA)

The informative article documents not only how hurricanes form:

Typically, when sea-surface temperatures are above 26.5 C, water vapour from the ocean condenses and releases heat, which rises and generates an inward movement of air. The air begins to spiral toward the centre of the disturbance, which graduates to a tropical depression and then a tropical storm. As long as winds in the upper atmosphere do not produce a shear force to disrupt the system, it can increase in height and breadth until it reaches hurricane status, gaining strength as it moves westward toward the Caribbean and picking up energy from the warm Atlantic waters.

but also how people use science to make probabilistic predictions for the paths these killer storms may take.

Talking about Huricane Irma, which is now battering Florida, BBC Weather posted a video to explain how hurricanes get their energy. “Never before have two Category 4 hurricanes made landfall in the continental United States in the same year,” said Darren Bett for BBC Weather.

Finally, for a range of teaching and learning activities related to Hurricane Irma, the New York Times has posted to its learning network an annotated bibliography of sources and resources about hurricanes in general, about coverage of hurricanes in the media, and about the energy that drives them to our shores and makes them so dangerous.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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