Five things that a hurricane needs
Click on image for full size
Lisa Gardiner/Windows to the Universe
How Hurricanes Form
One in a while, a tropical thunderstorm grows and grows, becoming a giant hurricane. First the storm grows a little bit. It combines with other thunderstorms and they all spin around an area of low pressure. This is called a tropical depression. Then the storm grows some more. Its winds become stronger and it is called a tropical storm. Then, the storm grows even more, its winds become even faster, and it is called a hurricane.
Hurricanes get their energy from the warm ocean water. When a hurricane is over warm water it will grow. A hurricane dies when it moves away from the warm water. When a hurricane moves into areas with cooler ocean water, it weakens. It will also weaken if it travels over land.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
The Fall 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist
, which includes articles on student research into building design for earthquakes and a classroom lab on the composition of the Earth’s ancient atmosphere, is available in our online store
You might also be interested in:
What types of instructional experiences help K-8 students learn science with understanding? What do science educators teachers, teacher leaders, science specialists, professional development staff, curriculum designers, school administrators need to know to create and support such experiences?...more
Earth's ocean covers more than 70% of our planet's surface. There are five major ocean basins: the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Indian Ocean, the Arctic Ocean, and the Southern Ocean that surrounds Antarctica....more
Hurricanes are powerful and can cause lots of damage. They can change natural environments. They can also damage the places where people live, work and play. When a hurricane is over the ocean, wind and...more
The Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea are often in the path of hurricanes These violent storms are hazardous for people living near the coast. Often people need to evacuate during a storm to stay safe....more
Hurricanes are among the strongest storms and they are becoming even stronger! There have also been more of them in the last few years. In 2004, a record number of hurricanes affected Florida. A hurricane...more
The hurricane season in the North Atlantic is particularly strong this year. And scientists predict that the storms will be getting stronger because of global warming. Follow the links below to find out...more
Why do the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron and the Hurricane Research Division use different airplanes? Actually, they only use two main types. The top two airplanes in the graphic, the WC-130H Hercules...more
The official "Hurricane Hunters" are part of the Air Force. They fly into hurricanes to get information. Scientists use this information to make forecasts. What information do they get and why is it important?...more