Hurricanes Cool The Atlantic

Hurricanes may actually help to cool the climate. They play an important role in the ocean circulation patterns that transport or dissipate heat out of the tropics, helping to maintain the climate of North America and Europe. However, they have not been sufficiently incorporated into climatologists’ computer models.

“As I’ve written before, hurricanes are natural heat engines. They transport surface heat to the upper atmosphere for dissipation to space. They do a splendid job of cooling the ocean surface over which they travel.

In the animation above from NASA SVS: As water vapor evaporates from the warm ocean surface, it is forced upward in the convective clouds that surround the eyewall and rainband regions of a storm. As the water vapor cools and condenses from a gas back to a liquid state, it releases latent heat. The release of latent heat warms the surrounding air, making it lighter and thus promoting more vigorous cloud development.”

‘Igor cool ocean’
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/24/igor-cool-ocean/

‘NASA SVS: Hurricanes cool the Atlantic’
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlZNoYnSvYI&feature=player_embedded

‘Hurricane Heat Engine’
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GX96BYhn3xs&feature=related

‘Do Hurricanes Cool the Ocean?’
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/OceanSci_p006.shtml

26 September, 2010

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