Hurricanes Web Assignment
Access the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Create-A-Cane site here, or copy and paste this address into your browser http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/outreach/games/canelab.htm. Follow the instructions below to answer the questions.
Use this interactive game to create a “perfect storm.” Go through and adjust the atmospheric conditions to produce a powerful hurricane. If you get the conditions perfect, you will get a score of 80 and the simulation will prompt you to answer a few questions. If you go on to answer the questions correctly, you can boost your score to 100. It may take you several attempts to get your perfect storm and you do not need to report your score. Use the help buttons to understand how each factor contributes to the formation of the storm. Once you are satisfied with your score, answer the questions below. Copy and paste the questions into a word document. Once you have answered all the questions, save the document using your last name and student ID as the file name and upload to Blackboard for grading.
- What types of winds were required in each level of the atmosphere? Describe the wind speed and direction at each level.
- Why is it critical that all levels blow in the same direction to form a tropical storm? What happens when you have lower winds blowing a different direction than upper winds?
- It seems intuitive that stronger winds would be better for forming a hurricane. Why is this not the case?
- What was the ideal latitude range for the formation of the tropical storm? Why?
ES 1010, Earth Science 4
Given that tropical storms/hurricanes require high moisture and temperatures, why can’t tropical storms form at the equator (0 degrees latitude), where temperatures and moisture are generally very high?
What moisture level was required for each of the atmospheric layers?
Why is moisture critical to form a hurricane?
How did the sea temperature affect your score? Why?
Which of the above factors seem to make the biggest difference in your score and why?
Explain why hurricanes dissipate so quickly once they make landfall
Hurricanes Web Assignment
Each level of the atmosphere requires winds with a low shear. This includes the upper-level, mid-level, and low-level winds. In addition, the winds should blow from the same direction.
In order for a hurricane to form, wind must blow from the same direction at all levels. It is important that winds blow in the same direction to sustain the heat of the hurricane. When winds move in the same direction, the strength of the hurricane is maintained since there is no shearing. On the other hand, if the winds move in different direction, the storm dissipates due to the disturbances in the vertical flow of the cold and warm air.
Weak winds are suitable for forming a hurricane. This is because they give room for the formation of a tropical wave, which in turn gives rise to convections. Where there are strong winds, convection cannot occur, which means that warm humid air cannot be able to rise to replace the cold unstable air.
The ideal latitude for the formation of a tropical storm is 5 degrees to 30 degrees north. In this region, the effects of Coriolis Effect are strong enough to create a spinning motion for tropical storms. The Coriolis Effect maintains a temperature gradient between the upper levels and lower levels of the atmosphere during storm formation. In the equatorial regions, the Coriolis Effect is zero.
Tropical storms cannot form at the equator due to lack of Coriolis Effect, which produces the shearing motion. Another reason relates to the behavior of winds, which flow into low-pressure regions and often causes a vertical wind shear that disrupts the formation of convections.
A high level of moisture level was required in each of the atmospheric levels.
Moisture is critical in the formation of a hurricane because it helps in the development of a thunderstorm. Thunderstorm development is significant because it helps in latent heat release mechanism, which is one of the key drivers or sources of energy of a tropical cyclone.
The minimum sea temperature required for the formation of a tropical cyclone is 26.5 C. When the sea temperature is low, the score is also low. This is because a tropical storm requires the sea temperatures to be warm, while the upper atmospheric temperatures are cold, which creates a pressure different. Additionally, warm temperatures contribute to high moisture levels.
The factor that makes the biggest difference is sea temperatures. This is because higher sea temperatures provide the energy needed for storm development.
Hurricanes dissipate quickly once they reach landfall because there is lack of warm ocean surface, which provides the required moisture for sustaining the hurricane. The ocean acts as the source of energy for a hurricane by extracting heat from the ocean.