Tag: tropical cyclone

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.

Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment
NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

80beats

80beats is DISCOVER's news aggregator, weaving together the choicest tidbits from the best articles covering the day's most compelling topics.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »