Jennifer Coffey

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Hurricanes and Climate Change

Hurricanes are mighty storm systems that produce powerful winds, heavy rainfall, and extensive damage. These storms vary depending on size, strength, and speed. Weather experts divide these storms into 5 different categories.

How they work

Hurricanes form over warm ocean waters in the Atlantic. The water on the surface of the ocean is evaporated by the sun and rises, then it is replaced by cooler air and the process will repeat. This will cause huge storm clouds to form. Since the Earth is spinning, this will cause these clouds to rotate and pick up speed. As these storms grow and get bigger and bigger, they will develop into a tropical disturbance, tropical depression, tropical storm, then a hurricane.

Hurricanes draw their strength from the ocean, so as long as they are over the water, they are gaining more power. That means that coastline cities and towns are at most risk for extensive damage from hurricanes.

Meteorologist, scientists, and weather experts are still trying to perfect how to predict and track hurricanes. Even though this technology is recent, it has saved thousands of lives.


Unfortunately, over the past 150 years, people had no way to track or predict when a hurricane was going to hit. Since we now know coastal cities and towns are most at risk for damage, they are also unfortunately where the most deadly hurricanes strike.

Deadly hurricanes might not be as common any more, but recently they have been increasing in power. Below are some of the most powerful storms ever recorded. It is interesting to note that seven of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded were within the last 40 years.

With strong winds comes destructive power. Some of the hurricanes above have resulted in the most destructive storms ever recorded. Hurricane Katrina, Andrew, and Irma all left the east coast destroyed in their wake. From homes, business, and schools these storms have no mercy for anything in their path.

It is interesting to note that the Category 5 storms didn’t even result in the most damage. Just because the winds weren’t as strong, doesn’t mean they won’t cause extensive damage.

So, what does this have to do with climate change? Since hurricanes draw their power from warm ocean waters, the warmer the water, the more intense the storm.

Again, within the past 40 years, we have see seven of the most powerful storm ever recorded. Not only is the an environmental impact, but an economic one as well. A lot of people don’t care about the environment, but they do care about their bank account.

But it is not just a bank account that takes a hit. Hurricanes destroy homes, neighborhoods, and communities. In some cases, it takes years to rebuild.

Now, I’m not saying that we can stop hurricanes from happening, but we can do our part to stop climate change.

Call to action

There are things that you can do to help your carbon footprint and help fight again climate change. There are many resources out there to help educate, organize volunteers, and places to donate.


Dolin, E. J. (2020). A furious sky: The five-hundred-year history of America’s hurricanes. New York, NY: Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W.W. Norton & Company.

Earth Science for Kids. (n.d.). Retrieved August 20, 2020, from

Frumin, A. (2016, October 06). How Exactly Are Hurricanes Tracked? Retrieved August 20, 2020, from

Murphy, R. (2019, June 13). The 6 deadliest hurricanes in US history. Retrieved August 20, 2020, from

Pflanzer, L. (2018, October 10). The 11 strongest hurricanes ever to form in the Atlantic Ocean, ranked by wind speed. Retrieved August 20, 2020, from

Stages of Development. (n.d.). Retrieved August 20, 2020, from

Zehnder, J. (2019, November 08). Life of a cyclone. Retrieved August 20, 2020, from

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