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Hurricane Hunting Season
Teacher Contributed

Hurricane Hunting Season

Topic

Increasing Ocean Temperatures Effect on Hurricanes

Student Exploration

Are hurricanes becoming more intense because of global warming?

The strength of hurricanes has been increasing and the temperature of the oceans has also been increasing. Are these two things related? Can they both be attributed to our human impact that is causing global warming? Take a look at this NOVA clip: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/earth/stronger-hurricanes.html

What do you think?

Extension Investigation

  1. The Weather Channel’s Hurricane Hunters explore the eye of a hurricane and discuss the changing weather conditions. Watch this: http://www.weather.com/tv/tvshows/hurricane-hunters/video#28896 What changes? Why does it change? For further information on hurricanes, some good reference material can be found below:
    1. Hurricane interactive diagram
    2. Hurricane reference information
  2. Using the provided blank tracking maps by NOAA (http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/tracking_charts.shtml), plot the paths of Hurricane Nora, Opal, and Fran using the data provided here: http://www.comet.ucar.edu/nsflab/web/explore/index.htm
  3. After you have finished plotting their paths, create a chart of observations for the three hurricanes. Make sure to include the time prior to landfall, the category strength, the sea-surface temperature, and any additional important factors.
  4. What do you notice about these three hurricanes? If the ocean temperature is increasing, will this have an impact on the strength of the hurricane?
  5. To look even further into this topic, check out NOAA’s Hurricanes in History site (http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/outreach/history/). Pick a few hurricanes throughout history. Look at similar data criteria to what were identified in #3. Do you see a correlation between ocean temperatures and hurricane strength?

Resources Cited

NOVA http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/earth/stronger-hurricanes.html

Hurricane Hunters. The Weather Channel. http://www.weather.com/tv/tvshows/hurricane-hunters/video#28896

University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. http://www.ucar.edu/news/features/hurricanes/inside_the_storm.html

http://www2.ucar.edu/news/backgrounders/hurricanes-typhoons-cyclones#tornadoes

http://www.comet.ucar.edu/nsflab/web/explore/index.htm

NOAA. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/tracking_charts.shtml

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/outreach/history/

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