Hurricane Heat Engines

By Piper & Anna 5th Period

Hurricanes: Tropical Monster Cyclones of the Ocean

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2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season

In 2005, 28 different hurricanes formed in the hurricane season, ranging in categories 1-5. 15 of those hurricanes were category 3 or higher. 6 of the 28 hurricanes were a direct hit on the U.S. 5 hurricane names expired after the hurricane season in 2005. Many of these storms were very effective to the U.S. even the category 2's and lower are effective causing lots of rain to the U.S.

Where do hurricanes occur?

Hurricanes occur when the atmosphere is warm and moist. Places close to the equator with warm water such as gulf coast, mid Atlantic, mid Pacific Ocean And Indian Ocean.

How do hurricanes develop?

Hurricanes develop by using the heat energy from the ocean. The atmosphere must be moist and the surface temperatures of the ocean must be over 80° F. The air mass around the surface takes heat from the water and rises as warm air or vapor. The air creates clouds known as a tropical depression. After the clouds form, the air cools releasing energy into the hurricane fueling it. The cycle repeats with warm air rising and cooling. The hurricane doesn't stop until it reaches land or ultimately dies out.
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How are hurricanes categorized?

Hurricanes are categorized as a category one, two, three, four, or five. While five would be the largest, it doesn't mean it's any more stronger than a category three might be. Certain factors are what make hurricanes powerful, such as storm surges. Hurricanes can also be categorized for their wind speeds. Wind speeds are calculated using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.

What is the Purpose?

To examine authentic sea surface temperature data to explore how hurricanes extract heat energy from the ocean surface

Group Member 1: Is there evidence of a change in sea surface temperature (SST) in the data maps? Explain what the evidence of change in SST is. Describe the change between the hurricane passage and the effect on SST?

Looking at the maps, you can see how the hurricanes form in the middle of the gulf then move upwards to the left towards Sabine Pass TX and Johnsons Bayou LA which was where it struck. Before the hurricane hit, you can see in the maps the hurricane swelled in the middle of the gulf and moved up towards land. The hurricane hit on September 24th, 2005, and looking at the graphs you can see four days before, (September 20th, 2005) the ocean surface temperatures was about 29° Celsius in the Gulf of Mexico when the hurricane formed (29° C converts to 84.2° F). You can see that by the time the hurricane moved up towards land, the ocean surface temperatures were up to 30° or 31° Celsius which converts to 86° or 87° F on September 24th, 2005. The hurricane caused the ocean surface temperatures to heat up significantly from the time the hurricane formed to the time it hit land.

Group Member 2: Explain the effect on the temperature in your line plot after the hurricane passed? How long did it take for the SST to return to the previous temperature?

1.The water is first warm, then when the hurricane is going on the warm water at the surface is going down when the cold warm from below is coming to the surface. When the Hurricane passes the water from below is now at the surface causing the water to be cold. The water below it which was previously the surface water is now below and will soon rise up again. This is a cycle.

2.The previous temperature is warm. Then it dramatically drops, and after about 2 days the temp rises again because the heat is rising. When it rises again it tries to get back up to the temperature it was before but can not reach that temperature. This is because the warm water was forced down and the cold water was forced up to the surface, this is a cycle so they will be forcing back and forth so the surface temperature of the water will become warm once again but it is mixing with the cold water so it is warm but less warm that it previously was. Also, it's a different time of year during when the temperature tried to rise again it was colder in the atmosphere so the water couldn't get all the way back up to the same temperature. The season changed.

Question 1: What conclusions can you make about how hurricanes extract heat energy from the ocean?

Hurricanes use the heat energy from the ocean by turning it into warm water vapors which forms swirling clouds in the sky. It then continues to take the energy to fuel itself in a cycle. First the water is heated by the sun’s energy. Then air mass above the water takes on the temperature and humidity of the water beneath it. Incoming winds force the warm air up which forms spiral clouds. As the warm air cools, it releases its energy fueling the hurricane.

Question 2: What other effects on SST may be occurring?

Other than hurricanes things that affect the SST is the heat in the lower atmosphere if it's 90*f degrees outside the SST will most likely be warm and if it's 2*f the SSTis going to be cold. Also, depending on what ocean it is the different climates. So if the climate is mainly warm the water will mostly be warm. If the climate is cold the SST will be cold. Another thing is other weather events such as tsunami or a thunderstorm this could stir the water up or depend on the airs temperature to conclude on the SST. One last major role is the season the area is in so if it's fall the water will be colder, in winter the water will be really cold, in spring it will get warmer, and in summer the water will be pretty warm.