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Energy Released by Hurricane

  1. Aug 30, 2008 #1
    Is there a way the quantify the energy 'released' by a hurricane? Does the energy have a source so to speak?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 30, 2008 #2
    The energy source of a tornado is the same as for a solar vortex plant or (a bit less unconventionally) a solar updraft tower: during the day the air at the ground becomes less dense than the air high in the atmosphere.

    For a hurricane I suppose much of the wind (following the Coriolis effect) must be powered by some spatial inhomogeneity, the pressure cell.
  4. Aug 31, 2008 #3
    My best guess is that thermal energy from the water is being converted into kinetic energy. With class five storms, it appears that there is some kind of run away breakdown effect...some sort of resonance or something.

    I'd like to know how many joules of energy are actually release in a hurricane.
  5. Aug 31, 2008 #4
    It's the water vapor above the sea water that is sucked up by the hurricane that releases heat when it condenses high in the sky. So, the power of the hurricane is related to the evaporation rate of the water.

    I've read that strong hurricanes transform the water surface into a big volume of small water bubbles. As the winds become stronger and stronger, you get more and more waves that start to break. Above a certain wind speed, there us no clearly definable water surface anymore.

    The total evaporation rate is proportional the the water surface. In case of strong hurricanes, the water surface is the sum of the surfaces of all the water bubbles which is huge...
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