Hurricanes can change people’s lives. A tropical system, no matter the strength can cause catastrophic damages. From a parked tropical storm producing life-threatening floods to a Category 5 compact (or huge) hurricane flattening houses -- these natural phenomena should not be taken lightly.
But did you know that there are changes that occur even in places we can’t see directly?
Check out the images below. The first image was taken on Aug. 31, before the major hurricane, Hurricane Irma, made landfall in Florida. The images were taken by The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) aboard the NOAA-NASA Suomi NPP satellite.
SCIENCE BEHIND THE CHURNED UP SEAS
We know that the warm waters serve as fuel for tropical systems. If we analyze the structure of a hurricane and slice it to see the big picture, we notice that there are two rotation flows -- both meet at the bottom, rise and drop to opposite sides, continuing this flow.
Now, imaging a boiling pot of water. As we apply heat, the water increases in temperature and when it reaches 212 degree Fahrenheit (100C). Bubbles form and the water mixed rapidly, especially at the bottom of the pot. This is similar to what happens to the sea, the bottom of the pot being the ocean -- churning up sediment, rapidly moving (waves and in-depth mixing) and changing the layout of the shallower parts of the ocean’s floor.
In the images, you can also see where the clean water ends and the polluted water starts (dark shades). After the hurricane is well past gone, the waters will slowly return to the darker shades. If you look closely offshore from Naples, you will notice little whirls (eddies). Water pollution, such as garbage, oil, etc., also get mixed, settling and taking over the lighter shades.
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