Hurricanes...the benefits??

All these hurricanes got me thinking...how do they fit in to the big picture? I have never experienced a full-on Cape Verde hurricane but I figured that they have to be important in the grand scheme. Despite the havok they wreak on land for humans, loss of life and property, it looks like we may be dependent on hurricanes for more than we think, for more than turtles & tree ferns, but for some of the very air we breathe?

As well, lightning and wildfires are crucial to the rhythms of life (albeit not a comforting thought as a forest is being burned or lightning is picking off power poles all over town, but true nevertheless). We need all the weather systems on earth. If we someday learn to short-circuit or tinker with our lightning (this has already been done...with chaff), wildfires or our hurricanes, we may want to think twice. As lightning has great benefits such as the creation of ozone and the sparking of fires which replenish nutrients to the soil for plant rebirth, hurricanes may also be a staple of life through redistribution of seawaters.

This was interesting, an excerpt I just read from "Hurricanes Help Sea Plants Bloom in "Ocean Deserts" - Goddard Space Flight Center.

"As a hurricane passes over the tropical waters of the Atlantic, it draws up cold water from deep below the warmer surface – this process drives the power engine of the cyclone. As researchers have discovered though, this heat engine drives more than the hurricane itself. The colder water rising to the surface brings with it phytoplankton and nutrients necessary for life. ..... Right now, phytoplankton produce almost half the oxygen we breathe."

Wow.

The Goddard Space story can be found here. http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/2004/060...canebloom2.html

I feel for the people impacted by yet another Atlantic hurricane. I know thousands of people must be entirely weary of the gas shortages, power outages, destruction from one system after another. However, in an ironic way it looks like hurricanes are not just big beasties that live to bring bad tidings, but are essential to living things in ways we may not know.
 
Hurricanes ... the benefits?

Interesting that so far 46 people have read this and no comments, so I'll put in my 2 cents worth. I hadn't thought of the upwelling benefit before but it makes sense. However, there are some more obvious ones. Florida would be a much drier place without tropical storm systems and the Everglades would dry up and even burn up, as has happened in the last decade or so. Hurricanes are a very efficient transporter of heat and moisture from the tropics into the temperate and polar regions. I guess the question is do we really need a Cat 2+ to do this? Perhaps not, but then who wants to mess with one? Several decades ago there was an experimental seeding program, where the outer rainbands were seeded with the idea of making them develop ahead of schedule and rob the core of energy. That did seem to work for at least one storm, temporarily (about 6 hours). I'm not sure I recall exactly why this was not persued further, but one problem with strengthening the outer bands while weakening the inner is that if you live where that outer band hit and suffer more damage, you may not care too much about how folks in the eyewall got off with less. Think of the political fallout and the lawsuits! Sometime it's just better to leave things alone.

Chuck
 
My hubby heard that we need a certain amount of hurricanes to keep the natural balance in nature. Not sure on that one but hurricanes to have their place in nature like fire, flood, etc. The human factor is a hard one to swallow, but nature takes care of herself. Susan stated this very well. :D
 
My opinion only- Whilst people moan about the severe impact some of these storms bring, historically it probably is not really very much different from now. But because everybody has become reliant on modern technology with all its benefits- Power, radio communications, the web,automobiles etc. I feel nature has its own way of dealing with things and always has.
 
Hurricanes play a major role in shaping the barrier islands of the east coast. Normal weather does the job, just very slowly.
 
This might blow your mind, but I have always theorized the hurricanes in America save more people than they kill. With so few people out driving and especially drinking and driving that would certainly save lives. Basically all the accidental deaths on any given day would be way down during hurricanes. Just a theory.
 
Back
Top