6 Pages

tropical.cyclone

Course Number: MOD 2, Fall 2009

College/University: USF

Word Count: 3181

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Exploring Florida: Teaching Resources for Science 1 of 6 Tropical Cyclones This document describes tropical cyclones and the dangers they pose to coastal populations. It is intended to help teachers improve their content knowledge of these areas. First, tropical cyclones are defined. Section two describes where these storms form, the criteria under which they form, and the forces which act to organize their...

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Florida: Exploring Teaching Resources for Science 1 of 6 Tropical Cyclones This document describes tropical cyclones and the dangers they pose to coastal populations. It is intended to help teachers improve their content knowledge of these areas. First, tropical cyclones are defined. Section two describes where these storms form, the criteria under which they form, and the forces which act to organize their circulation. Next, structural changes resulting from landfall are discussed. This is followed by a brief description of the four hazards that tropical cyclones pose to coastal populations. The maps provided illustrate how frequently these storms affect Florida and underscore why it is important to continually improve our knowledge about how these systems operate and to understand how these systems might be altered as the Earths climate changes. 1. Tropical cyclone definition and formation Figure 1. Simple diagram of air flow horizontally and vertically within a hurricane as denoted by blue arrows. The white regions are clouds. Image Credit: NASA http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Library/Hurricanes/ Tropical cyclones (TCs) are low pressure Saffir-Simpson Category Maximum sustained wind speed meters/sec (mph) Minimum surface pressure (millibars) systems that begin as a 1 33-42 (74-95) > 980 collection of unorganized thunderstorms over the 2 43-49 (96-110) 979-965 tropical ocean. Their role 3 50-58 (111-130) 964-945 in the global atmospheric 4 59-69 (131-155) 944-920 circulation is to transport energy from subtropical 5 > 70 (> 156) < 920 latitudes towards the poles. Because warm air Table 1. The Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity developed through damage assessments by engineers. is less dense than cold air, the air which is heated by the warm ocean waters is able to rise upwards through the cooler layers of the atmosphere above it. This process continually provides heat and moisture to produce thunderstorms. Additional warming hap...

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