“The Patricia Effect” –Is a 500 MPH Hurricane Possible? MIT Expert Says “Yes”





The National Hurricane Center reported yesterday that Patricia is the strongest hurricane on record in the National Hurricane Center's area of responsibility (AOR) which includes the Atlantic and the eastern North Pacific basins. The minimum central pressure estimated from the aircraft data, 880 millibars, is the lowest ever for their AOR. The National Hurricane Center noted "It seems incredible that even more strengthening could occur before landfall later today [October 23]. The official forecast shows only a little more strengthening before landfall." As of today, Oct. 24, the NHC reports that Patricia weakened to a tropical depression over central Mexico.

MIT professor of atmospheric science, Kerry Emanuel, has described the worst monster hurricane that could ever happen -a "hypercane" with winds raging around its center at 500 miles an hour. Water vapor; sea spray and storm debris are spewed into the atmosphere, punching a hole in the stratosphere 20 miles above the Earth's surfa

Could this happen? Possibly. But this hypercane scenario is one of Emanuels' computer models. A professor at MIT's atmosphere, oceans and climate program, Emanuel studies the physics of hurricanes, deconstructing their behavior, and digs into their geological past — all to understand what makes these monster storms tick.

No one knows for sure how hurricanes get started. The ingredients for cooking one up still remain a mystery. A basic recipe: ocean water 80 degrees or warmer, super humid air, and a bunch of storms with thunderheads. Some assembly still require"Hurricanes are accidents of nature," Emanuel says. Hurricanes don't happen by themselves," he continues. "They literally need to be triggered."

To create such a monster storm, parts of the ocean would have to warm up to at least 100 degrees, and only the impact of a large asteroid hitting the tropical ocean or a massive undersea volcano could generate such intense heating. Emanuel and his colleagues theorize that asteroid-triggered hypercanes may have contributed to massive global extinctions millions of years ago.

The Daily Galaxy via https://slice.mit.edu, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, http://eaps4.mit.edu/faculty/Emanuel/ and The National Hurricane Center

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