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Rory
Post  Post subject: Hurricane intensity: upper limit?  |  Posted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 1:15 pm
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Hurricanes tend to lose strength as they pass over land (particularly, mountains) and as they encounter surface water of a lower temperature. But just what is the limit to their intensity, and even, is there a limit? Assuming that global warming continues and water temperatures increase, would it be possible to see the genesis of category 6 hurricanes? The nature of international assistance means that any country affected by damaging hurricanes is aided in its recovery by other nations. Is it conceivable that, given sufficient climate change, a whole new breed of weather system emerges that is capable of traversing and destroying all nations simtaneously? If not, which physical constraint renders this an impossibility?

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Hurricane intensity: upper limit?  |  Posted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:28 pm
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The only limits come from the amount of energy in the system. As the energy increases, so too does storm intensity. Category 6 is not only possible, but likely IMO.

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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: Hurricane intensity: upper limit?  |  Posted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:27 pm
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I agree that the intensity depends on the amount of energy, but isn't it possible that there is an equilibrium point, where the increased surface area and volume of the storm radiates its heat to space at the same rate as it picks up heat from the ocean? Radiation varies with the 4th power of absolute temperature, while convection varies as the 1th or maybe the 1.25th power, so maybe there is a surface water temperature at which the two balance out and no further increase is thermodynamically possible.

Just a guesspeculation.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Hurricane intensity: upper limit?  |  Posted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 1:09 am
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That's actually a really good observation. I suspect you're correct, but I have no idea where that equilibrium point may exist.

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Moontanman
Post  Post subject: Re: Hurricane intensity: upper limit?  |  Posted: Sun Oct 26, 2014 12:34 am
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This PDF may be helpful in this discussion.

http://www.atmos.albany.edu/daes/atmcla ... y_2001.pdf


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Hurricane intensity: upper limit?  |  Posted: Sun Oct 26, 2014 3:31 am
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Thanks for the link, moonman. It appears to discuss more about the limitations of models at the time it was published and how those studies may not be accurate in their estimates of maximum hurricane intensity. It didn't seem to offer an actual limit of its own, though. I bet there is more current work somewhere with more clarity we could find.

It did remind me of the term hypercane, though. That would be another good search term when digging into this. Good to see you around, btw.

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Hurricane intensity: upper limit?  |  Posted: Sun Oct 26, 2014 1:41 pm
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Quote:
The extreme conditions needed to create a hypercane could conceivably produce a system up to the size of North America, creating storm surges of 18 m (59 ft) and an eye nearly 300 km (190 mi) across.


Cool 8-) I mean, you know, if you could watch from a safe distance...

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