Saturday, September 24, 2005

Watch out, its coming.....

Costal areas all over the world are prone to attack. Most of the time the attack comes from the sea and in the form of storms. Whether it is India or America, they natural destruction stories remain the same. These monster attackers are named differently all over the world in America it is called Hurricane, in Japan and China it is called Typhoon, In south and south east Asia it is called cyclone. However, all of them form following a similar mechanism. Warm air flowing over the sea suck water as vapour, because the temperature of the air would be as high as 80 oC, these water vapour cools down at higher altitude and releases heat which results in more heated air which is light, this air gains a speed of 200 miles per hour and due to earth rotation the air starts whirling around an eye, this is how it looks.

Red part of the hurricane contains water. These tropical cyclones travels 300-500 km a day,
they loses strength but very slowly and before it tames it hits the costal life. This monster has three weapons. First is of course storm, which hits at a speed of 200 km/hr. it is followed by heavy downpour, much more than that of any low pressure cloud pouring. It has got a disguise also. Once the eye crosses the land the rain and storm stops, it is an warning which people often misses, the storm comes from the opposite direction. It is huge and deadly. The devastation has just started. Almost 90% of the casualties come from the surge of water, the third weapon of hurricane. The sea levels go up by 10 to 30 ft. and in extreme cases it reaches 40 ft.! The surge of water we saw in New Orleans is actually due to this. The storm carries through the coast and may travel till 1000 miles! Slowly loses its pace and die down. The devastation is always quite tragic. It affects the flora and fauna immensely. Moreover, geophysical changes are also come along with them. has posted some before and after Katrina photograph in their web page.
Typhoons and Hurricanes are normally named, although “Katrina” rocked USA, it is not the deadliest ones world has witnessed till now. In India in the year 1999 there was a cyclone hit. Actually there was couple of cyclones that hit costal Orissa. First one hit Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal and the second one without warning hit Orissa and India saw the one of the worst cyclone hit. The Cyclone lasted for 2 days and whole state was out of the world. It was said the wind speed reached 310 km/hr with an water surge of 20-30 ft. It completely destroyed the state; there was no account of the death toll as well as the homeless. A huge part of the coast beacame a barren land, with all the trees uprooted. The economy and life was affected such a way that still people are recovering from it.
Science has progressed so much that following the Hurricane is possible from its birth hence it is possible to do the necessary evacuation. Computer simulations following the satellite imaging have done a real miracle, but researches are on in this topic. One big topic is the effect of pollution like global warming in the frequency of the storm. Recently there was an article on hurricane on a work by a group from university of Tennessee in Knoxville. They are studying the Pine trees in coastal US and it was claimed that these trees bear signs of Hurricane, so the frequency of it can be identified at least for last 100 years! We don’t know whether these are signals of destructions that are coming or passing by!

Orissa Cyclone
Hurricane mark in Pine trees.


Mogadalai said...

Dear Santa,
Nice post. However, there is no need to make the cyclones a monster - True they can be devastating; but they also keep this cycle of bringing rains to us, aren't they?

Atul said...

Hi Santnou,

Good to know about these cyclones and all :) I was wondering if these pictures are taken from satalite or some 'simulation' images ?


Santonu said...

Hi Atul, they are all simunlation image, this is how they figure out about the intensity, its very similiar effort like the one was in "twister"