Thursday, July 18, 2013

How 'Brown Oceans' Fuel Hurricanes

brown-oceans  Tropical Storm Erin in 2007 gained intensity as it moved over land, which functioned as a "brown ocean" providing heat and energy to the storm.

Hurricanes and tropical storms typically gather strength while moving over warm oceans, where the energy released by evaporating water fuels these storms' high winds. These storms usually weaken rapidly as they move over land and are cut off from their fuel source.

But researchers are now gaining a better understanding of tropical cyclones that don't conform to the mold and grow stronger over continental land masses, even hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean.

Under certain conditions, continents act as "brown oceans" that keep a tropical cyclone from weakening and, in some cases, make the storm even stronger than it was over the ocean, according to a news release from NASA. [A History of Destruction: 8 Great Hurricanes]. 
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