Hurricane Heat Engine

By: Ichha Lamichhane and Anisha Raju

Did You Know ....

Every second a large hurricane releases the energy of 10 atomic bomb.

Overview of 2005 hurricane season

Hurricane Arlene started the 2005 season. It started in the Caribbean Sea. Along with Arlene 26 other hurricanes hit. 21 of them broke records. Hurricane Katrina was the most destructive of all of them. The 2005 season caused over $100 billion dollars.

Where do hurricanes occur?

They start on the coast of Africa. They get more powerful in the Atlantic Ocean. They also occur near the equator. That is where the most direct sunlight.

How do hurricanes occur?

The warm air near the surface rises and cools. As the warm air rises and the air around it takes its spot. The air starts moving faster and the wind pressure increases. This the process is how hurricanes form.

How are hurricanes categorized?

Hurricanes are categorized by its wind speed. The scale that is used to measure wind speed is called the SST. There is category 1 through 5. Category 1 is the least powerful where 5 is the most.


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

Is there evidence of a change in sea surface temperature (SST) in the data maps? Explain what the evidence of change in SST is.

Yes there is. In the graph it shows that ocean where hurricane Rita came from is hotter than the Northern Atlantic part.

Describe the change between the hurricane passage and the effect on SST?

During the hurricane’s passage, the water temperature gets higher. But when it passes, the water temperature lowers because the hurricane is done with it’s formation and its energy is no longer being renewed.

Explain the effect on the temperature in your line plot after the hurricane passed?

After the hurricane passed, the temperature fell drastically and now the temperature was around 25 degrees Celsius. The ocean was getting colder and colder. After a couple of days, the temperature started getting a little bit hotter but never went up as high as what it started as.

How long did it take for the SST to return to the previous temperature?

The SST never returned to its previous temperature. The temperature started to go up, but it never returned to more than 29 degrees Celsius, which was the previous temperature. It went up a couple degrees majorly but then started going down again.

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

Heat is transferred from the ocean to the atmosphere and when it does this, it causes the ocean to cool slightly. The heat transferred from the ocean is stored in water vapor. When winds come together and the hurricane starts to form, the added heat from the ocean makes it rise and get bigger. During a hurricane, the heat energy from the ocean evens out the other factors of the hurricane.

#2 What other effects on SST may be occurring?

The time of year also affects the SST. The Earth's tilt also affects the SST because whenever the earth is tilted, shorter sun rays hit the ocean. Also indirect and direct effects the SST.