Saturday, October 29, 2005

Hurricane Beta? and Happy Birthday!

The world continues to break records relating to hurricane season with Tropical Storm Beta threatening to become a hurricane and slam into Nicaragua. For those who do not understand what this has to do with global warming, I will try to oversimplify what is going on.

As the world heats up, so do the oceans. Around the equator, this causes the waters to be especially hot, leading to more evaporation. At the poles, more of the polar ice melts. This creates two very strong gradients within the oceans, one based on heat and the other on the fact that the increasing evaporation at the equator causes higher salinity while the influx of fresh water at the poles makes that water much less salty than water at the equators. In addition to the intuitive conclusion that increased evaporation will create more rainclowds and precipitation, those gradients wil cause strong currents within the water as the seas will tend to balance out the gradient.

As we know from flushing the toilet, water does not move along gradients based on a straight line, if not in a swirling motion that lessens resistants. Add to this increased precipitation and increased swirling the complex math equations of Chaos Theory, and you have an increased likelihood of drastic storms and increased flooding because of global warming. (as far as i can tell anyway).

And finally, wish my girlfriend and lover a happy birthday. She is celebrating by going on a date with the founder of Narco News Al Giordano. (Way to go baby!)

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Tropical storms are associated with high tropical sea surface temperature (SST), but I don't believe they're associated with the gradient between the tropics and the poles. Mid-latitude storms are associated with that gradient, and it's almost time for them to get started in the Northern Hemisphere.

As we know from watching watter run down a gutter, water can move along gradients in a straight line. The reason we see large-scale vorticity in the ocean currents and hurricanes and such is because of the Coriolis Effect due to the earth's rotation. This effect, though, contrary to popular opinion, is not significant on the scale of a sink or toilet.

Anyhow, I believe that the record broken by this tropical storm season was for the number of named tropical storms. Hurricane prediction models with global warming inputs predict increased storm intensity, but not increased frequency, so if tropical storms this season are more numerous than usual, we don't know global warming to be a factor in that. I'm not entirely certain about this; if tropical storms must reach a certain intensity before being named, then an increase in storm intensity would also result in an increasing number of named storms.

Try reading this:
Hurricanes and Global Warming - Is There a Connection?