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EPSC 185 Hurriane Notes

EPSC 185 Hurriane Notes - EPSC 185 Natural Disasters...

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EPSC 185: Natural Disasters Hurricanes Introduction Hurricane definition: a warm-core, low pressure system without any "front" attached, that develops over the tropical or subtropical waters, and has an organized circulation Conditions: o Warm waters 27°C o Atmosphere that cools fast with height that it is unstable to moist convection o Moist air near mid-level troposphere o Minimum distance of 300 miles from equator o Pre-existing near-surface disturbance o Less than 23 mph vertical wind shear between surface and upper troposphere These tropical cyclones form near the equator due to the temperature, but not too close due to the Coriolis Force (force that causes cyclone to spin) Cyclones only form in 7 regions around the world Typhoon Vamei o Formed near Singapore on December 27th, 2001 o Circulation center at 1.5°N Circulation was on both sides of equator o Maximum sustained surface wind 87 mph and wind gusts of 120 mph "Disturbances" can come from o Easterly waves Tropical waves - inverted trough of low pressure moving westward in the tropical easterlies. Majority of hurricanes start from easterly waves o West African Disturbance Line (WADL) Line of convection forms over West Africa and moves to Atlantic - Faster than tropical waves o Tropical Upper Troposphere Trough (TUTT) Cold core low in upper atmosphere which produces convection o Old Frontal Boundary Remnants of polar front can become lines of convection which occasionally forms a tropical cyclone Warm water is one of the most imported keys to a hurricane. As the vapor rises it cools - Cooling causes water vapor to condense into liquid. During condensation heat is released. Heat warms atmosphere making the air lighter then rises into atmosphere. More air moves in near the surface to take its place which is the strong winds we feel. Once a hurricane hits land it weakens due to lacking moisture and heat sources that the ocean provides for it. Without moisture and heat the cyclone cannot produce thunderstorms near the center so it rapidly diminishes. Purpose of hurricanes is to take heat stored in ocean and transfer to upper atmosphere where upper level winds carry heat to poles. This keeps the poles from being as cold as they could and keeps the tropics from overheating. There are many ideas on how we can decrease a hurricanes intensity including using water absorbing material to soak-up the moisture and nuclear weapons to disrupt their circulation however these cyclones generate far too much energy
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EPSC 185: Natural Disasters Also tropical cyclones help regulate the earths temperature and without these cyclones the ocean would retain more heat. This could lead to stronger more-severe storms.
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