The cause of the abnormal hurricane season

Written by: Catrina Lambert

Over the past few weeks, the United States and the islands near have seen quite a few devastating hurricanes this year, Harvey and Irma being the most recent. 2017’s hurricane season has been abnormally active.

“One thing we’ve noticed over the past seven years,” NPHS earth science teacher Antranik Askander said. “Is that the average temperature of the ocean has gone up. The heat from the ocean causes hurricanes, so the hotter the ocean is, the stronger the hurricane. This is why we’ve seen an influx of powerful hurricanes recently.”

Climate change, as is a well-known explanation for the earth’s warming, is believed by scientists to be the cause of this. According to National Geographic, “Global warming caused by human activities that emit heat-trapping carbon dioxide has raised the average global temperature by about 1°F over the past century. In the oceans, this change has only been about 0.18°F.”

This doesn’t sound like much, but in the grand scheme of the ocean’s temperature, it’s actually quite a bit. It causes the warmer surface water to evaporate quickly, and the vapor helps the storms become more powerful.

What causes this, however?
According to Askander, “Another thing we’ve noticed is that, due to the greenhouse effect, there’s a lot of heat trapped on the planet, towards the surface of the earth. And while it’s there, it heats up the ocean, eventually causing more storms.”

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