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Title    Researchers Find Even Small Disturbances can Trigger Catastrophic Storms
Date    Sunday May 17 2020, @09:02PM
Author    martyb
from the the-answer,-my-friend,-is-blowin'-in-the-wind dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

After decades of research, meteorologists still have questions about how hurricanes develop. Now, Florida State University researchers have found that even the smallest changes in atmospheric conditions could trigger a hurricane, information that will help scientists understand the processes that lead to these devastating storms.

"The whole motivation for this paper was that we still don't have that universal theoretical understanding of exactly how tropical cyclones form, and to really be able to forecast that storm-by-storm, it would help us to have that more solidly taken care of," said Jacob Carstens, a doctoral student in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science.

The research by Carstens and Assistant Professor Allison Wing has been published in the Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems.

[...] The simulations started with mostly uniform conditions spread across the imaginary box where the model played out. Then, researchers added a tiny amount of random temperature fluctuations to kickstart the model and observed how the simulated clouds evolved.

Despite the random start to the simulation, the clouds didn't stay randomly arranged. They formed into clusters as the water vapor, thermal radiation and other factors interacted. As the clusters circulated through the simulated atmosphere, the researchers tracked when they formed hurricanes. They repeated the model at simulated latitudes between 0.1 degrees and 20 degrees north, representative of areas such as parts of western Africa, northern South America and the Caribbean. That range includes the latitudes where tropical cyclones typically form, along with latitudes very close to the equator where their formation is rare and less studied.

The scientists found that every simulation in latitudes between 10 and 20 degrees produced a major hurricane, even from the stable conditions under which they began the simulation. These came a few days after a vortex first emerged well above the surface and affected its surrounding environment.

Journal Reference
Jacob D. Carstens, Allison A. Wing. Tropical Cyclogenesis From Self‐Aggregated Convection in Numerical Simulations of Rotating Radiative‐Convective Equilibrium [open], Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems (DOI: 10.1029/2019MS002020)

-- submitted from IRC

Original Submission


  1. "following story" -
  2. "atmospheric conditions" -
  3. "tropical cyclones" -
  4. "hurricane" -
  5. "10.1029/2019MS002020" -
  6. "Original Submission" -

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