Tag: hurricane

Lab Animals Drowned In Basements During This Hurricane–And It’s Happened Before

By Ashley P. Taylor | November 2, 2012 5:02 pm

lab rat

Though the subway rats may have been able to escape the flooded tunnels during Hurricane Sandy, lab rats in basement cages weren’t so lucky. New York University lost around 10,000 research rodents from a flooded animal facility in the basement of the Smilow Research Center in Manhattan, according to The New York Times.  These lab animals are genetically engineered and/or specially bred with traits that make them good models for human disorders, like cancer, heart disease, and schizophrenia. Creating such research strains can take years. Gordon Fishell, associate director of the NYU Neuroscience Institute, told the Times that he lost 10 years of work in the flood.  A basement animal facility also flooded at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, but staff members rescued many of the animals, ScienceInsider reported.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine

How a Sprinkling of Freshwater Can Intensify a Hurricane's Fury

By Sophie Bushwick | August 14, 2012 9:39 am

Hurricane Irene
Hurricane Irene, seen from the International Space Station

Last August, Hurricane Irene blasted Vermont, destroying hundreds of roads and dragging covered bridges into rivers; in New York, where catastrophic flooding was expected, almost nothing happened. Each year, thousands of people die in hurricanes [pdf], in part because although meteorologists can easily use satellite data to track a storm and predict its landfall, predicting a storm’s windspeed, or intensity, is notoriously difficult. Keeping track of the saltiness of the ocean beneath a hurricane may refine predictions, though: A new paper shows that an influx of freshwater can increase a hurricane’s intensity by almost 50 percent.

When a tropical cyclone passes over the ocean, its strong winds churn up the waters, pulling cold seawater up to the surface. This mixing process cools down both the ocean and the hurricane, and because the storm feeds on heat, it reduces a hurricane’s intensity. But sometimes, something blocks that cold water from reaching the surface.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment
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