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  • -= Mercurious Chat =- (meyer2005 Chat Log)During this online chat, 228 questions were asked by 38 schools. There were 38 adults and 137 students involved in this chat.

    Hosted by Dr. Steven Meyer, meteorologist of Univ. of Wisconsin - Green Bay

    Hollie Miller - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from Depere, Wisconsin comments:
    Room opened by Moderator on 09/20/05 at 10:59.

    Karlette Kumm - Chat Guest at from Pittsville, Wisconsin asks:
    What causes a tropical depression's center to start to circulate around a low pressure and for this to continue to grow sometimes but not everytime?

    Circulation is caused by something called the Coriolis Effect. As wind moves toward the center of the storm the Coriolis Effect causes a twisting or rotating.

    Austin - Chat Guest at Mount School from , asks:
    How does a tropical storm become a hurricane?

    A tropical storm is upgraded to hurricane strength based on the wind speed. When winds reach 119 km/hour (74 miles/hour) it becomes a hurricane.

    Bridget - Chat Guest at Mount Elementary from East Setauket, NY asks:
    how do hurricanes start and stop

    Warm water and the evaporation that occurs over warm water is the "fuel" source of a hurricane. That is why hurricanes form in late summer/early spring, when the ocean water is warmest. When a hurricane moves over land or over colder water that "fuel supply" is cut off.

    Colin Hoogland (5th Grade - Chat Guest at Catawba School from Catawba, Wisconsin asks:
    Why are hurricanes named after people?

    It just made it easier to separate which storm everyone was referring to.

    Phoebe - Chat Guest at W.S.Mount from , asks:
    Can hurricanes start on land?

    They sometimes start as a cluster of thunderstorms that move off of the African continent and move westward. But they only become hurricanes over water.

    Jason - Chat Guest at Kbeach Elementary from Soldotna, Alaska asks:
    Has there ever been a category 5 hurricane? Micah

    Oh yes. Hurricane Camille was a category 5. Camille occurred in 1969, and was a very devastating hurricane.

    Babs Oguin - Teacher at Academy For Science Foreign from Huntsville, Alabama asks:
    what was the worst hurricane ever?

    In U.S. history, in terms of lost lives, the Galveston, TX hurricane of 1900 was the worst. It is estimated that 8,000 people lost their lives.

    Cathy - Chat Guest at Mount School from South Setauket, New York asks:
    What time of year are there the most hurricanes?

    In the late summer/early fall when the ocean water is at its warmest temperature.

    Carol Haas - Chat Guest at North Elementary from Antigo, WI asks:
    I recently heard that hurricanes have been stronger in recent years than they had been years ago and that this was due to Global Warming. I wonder if part of the reason for that is because there are more people living in coastal areas, the coastal areas are much more built up than years ago, and communication is better so that we hear more about the destruction. What's your thought?

    That's a good question. Global warming has not been proved beyond a shadow of a doubt, but any warming that may be occurring may increase the number of hurricanes. More research is needed in that area. You are correct, we have built up the shorelines, which only increases the damage caused by a hurricane.

    Barry Fraioli - Guest Teacher at John F. Kennedy Magnet School from Port Chester, New York asks:
    Can a hurricane spin one way then another?

    In the northern hemisphere, hurricanes only spin counterclockwise. But those occurring in the Southern Hemisphere spin clockwise.

    Colin Hoogland (5th Grade - Chat Guest at Catawba School from Catawba, Wisconsin asks:
    How many Hurricanes form each year?

    On average fewer than 5 hurricanes form in the North Atlantic each year. However, we have already had 8 hurricanes in the North Atlantic this year. And when Rita becomes a hurricane later this week, that will make nine so far.

    Brian Wiltgen - Chat Guest at Manz Elementary from Eau Claire, Wisconsin asks:
    Has global warming affected the amount of hurricanes that develop in the Atlantic Ocean?

    That is debatable. It really depends on who you ask.

    Fourth Grade - Chat Guest at Green Meadow from Oshkosh, WI asks:
    How can you tell where the hurricane is going to hit?

    That is very difficult. Meteorologists use super computers to try to predict a hurricanes path. However, no 2 computers ever predict the same exact path. There are some websites that show the predicted path of hurricanes. Maybe as a class you can chart the different predicted paths and see which computer does best.

    Mr. V's class - Chat Guest at Lekeshore Elementary from Eau Claire, Wisconsin asks:
    Are hurricanes just a large version of a tornado?

    They are the same in that they are both types of cyclones. However, they form in different ways.

    Hannah - Chat Guest at NCSS from Rhinelander, Wisconsin asks:
    how big can hurricanes get?

    Huricanes diameters can reach 1500 km (930 miles) but they can also be small. Larger hurricanes are not necessarily the most powerful hurricanes.

    Annemarie - Chat Guest at W.S. Mount Elementary from , asks:
    Can you see a hurricane from outer space? If you can, what does it look like?

    Actually, we see hurricanes from outer space everytime we watch the news. The satellite images shown on TV are from satellites that are 22,000 miles away from the earth's surface.

    Kathy Bosiak - Teacher at Lincolnton High School from Lincolnton, North Carolina asks:
    Do you think Rita will impact on New Orleans?

    Right now it doesn't look like it. The computers are all projecting Rita to come onshore somewhere in Texas.

    Stephen - Chat Guest at ASFL from Huntsville, Alabama asks:
    What 'is' a hurricane

    A hurricane is a type of cyclone, or low pressure system. Their main purpose (from a atmospheric view point) is to simply move heat energy from a location of excess heat energy to a location of deficit heat energy. Unfortunately, they can be very destructive in the process.

    5th graders - Chat Guest at Granton Elementary from Granton, Wi asks:
    After a hurricane hits land, how far can it travel?

    After it hits land it loses strength very quickly often becoming an ordinary low pressure system. That low pressure system can then travel a long way.

    5th graders - Chat Guest at Granton Elementary from Granton, Wi asks:
    Can a tornado that goes in the water become a hurricane?

    No, a tornado would be too small to form a hurricane.

    Lisa Jiskra - Chat Guest at Medford Area Elementary from Medford, Wisconsin asks:
    How do they know when a hurricane is forming? Emily

    Now that we have satellites in place, the satellites show us potential areas to watch for the formation of hurricanes.

    Rick Brietzke - Teacher at Purdy Elementary School from Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin asks:
    Is it dangerous for planes to fly into hurricanes to get data. Have they crashed?

    It is dangerous (and exciting at the same time). I don't think there has been any reconnaissence planes that have crashed.

    Lisa Jiskra - Chat Guest at Medford Area Elementary from Medford, Wisconsin asks:
    How wide can a hurricane get? Justus

    Up to 1500 km (930 miles) but the average is about 600 km (375 miles).

    Tina - Chat Guest at W.S. Mount from , asks:
    How do hurricanes collect speed?

    That is determined by the winds in the upper atmosphere. Those winds act to steer hurricanes, determine how fast the hurricane moves, and they also determine whether a hurricane will gain strength or begin to decay.

    Phoebe - Chat Guest at W.S.Mount from , asks:
    Can two hurricanes be in the same place at the same time?

    Oh yes. In fact, we have T.S. Rita (will soon become a hurricane) and hurricane Phillipe in the Atlantic right now.

    Jason - Chat Guest at Kbeach Elementary from Soldotna, Alaska asks:
    What happens when they run out of names? Eden

    Hopefully, they will never run out of names...that would mean there are too many hurricanes. But if there are lots of hurricanes, they just start over with the letter 'A' and a different set of names.

    Kathy Hobson - Chat Guest at Atlantic High School from Atlantic, IA asks:
    Is there a logical explanation why the last few years we have seen so many large hurricanes?

    Some people would argue that we are seeing the effects of global warming. I am not going to attribute hurricane trends to GW just yet. We need more evidence first.

    nichole - Chat Guest at Bowler from , asks:
    Why aren't there a lot of Hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean?

    Actually, there are lots of hurricanes in the Pacific. In fact, there are usually lots more in the Pacific than in the Atlantic.

    Peter - Chat Guest at from , asks:
    what is the eye of the storm like

    In the eye of the storm, winds are descending from above causing what is called compressional warming. So in the eye clouds are thinner, or non-existent. Winds are much lighter.

    cody - Chat Guest at False Pass from False Pass, AK asks:
    are hurricanes dangerous.

    Very dangerous...if you are ever warned to evacuate, please do.

    Thomas W. - Chat Guest at mount from new york, New York asks:
    What happens when 2 hurricanes collide while spinning different directions?

    That could never happen.

    Hollie Miller - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from Depere, Wisconsin comments:
    All questions must be passed through a moderator before they are sent to our Featured Chat Guest. It may take a few minutes to see your question. We will try to get through as many questions as possible in the time allocated for today's chat.

    Carlos - Chat Guest at Mount from , asks:
    How do you know the speed of the hurricane before it hits land

    Meteorologists use the satellites to tell how far the eye has moved over a given time. From that they can tell the hurricane's speed.

    Fourth Grade - Chat Guest at Green Meadow from Oshkosh, WI asks:
    What instruments do you use to predict/track hurricanes?

    That's where the computer models, computer programs on super computers come in.

    Rick Brietzke - Teacher at Purdy Elementary School from Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin asks:
    How wide was Hurricane Katrina?

    Sorry, I am not sure.

    Kristen - Chat Guest at from , asks:
    How far away from land do you usually spot the hurricanes on the radar systems? It seems so many give only a few days notice that it is approaching.

    Radars only detect the rainfall from hurricanes. So radars do not detect hurricanes until they are about 150 miles away. That is why satellites are so important. Satellites can track a hurricane for thousands of miles.

    Jason - Chat Guest at Kbeach Elementary from Soldotna, Alaska asks:
    How far can a hurricane travel? Jacob

    North Atlantic hurricanes can form off the African coast and travel north close to England. So thousands of miles.

    Babs Oguin - Teacher at Academy For Science Foreign from Huntsville, Alabama asks:
    do u think there is other storms on other planets

    Definitely. I believe it is Jupiter that has the big orange eye that is actually a huge storm.

    Zackary - Student at Academy For Science Foreign from Huntsville, Alabama asks:
    is this year the worst hurricane season on record?

    I am not sure it is the worst. But is certainly is one of the worst on record.

    Babs Oguin - Teacher at Academy For Science Foreign from Huntsville, Alabama asks:
    why are hurricanes sooooo dangerous? is it cause of the wind?

    It depends on what type of damage you are referring to. In terms of human life, the most dangerous part of a hurricane is the storm surge. Property damage is due more to wind. While quite a bit of other damage is due to flooding rains (which oftern occur far from where the hurricane made landfall).

    Kathy Hobson - Chat Guest at Atlantic High School from Atlantic, IA asks:
    What causes some storms like Ophelia to just sit in one place for a period of time.

    The upper level winds help strengthen (or weaken), push, and steer a hurricane. With Ophelia, the upper level winds were very light, so there was no push associated. As a result it didn't move much.

    Lacy - Chat Guest at Bowler from Birnamwood, Wisconsin asks:
    How does a hurricane relate to a tropical deppression?

    A tropical depression is the first stage of a potential hurricane. A tropical depression has wind speeds of less than 37 mph, a tropical storm's wind speeds are between 38-73 mph, and a hurricane's winds are 74 mph or greater.

    Mark Joseph - Chat Guest at Keet Gooshi Heen El. from Sitka, Alaska asks:
    Has Alaska ever had a Hurricane?

    They have had hurricane force winds, but not an actual hurricane. The Great Lakes also have hurricane strength winds, but not actual hurricanes.

    Calvin - Chat Guest at Fox Valley Christian Academy from Neenah, WI asks:
    Why do researchers spend so much time studying the eye, or inner core of hurricanes? How does this help them understand hurricanes and improve forecasting techniques?

    Yes. I would guess that it is also because this is the most powerful and devastating part of the storm.

    Dane - Chat Guest at Manz from Eau Claire, WI asks:
    Why do hurricanes get bigger over warmer water?

    The warmer water is their source of fuel. The warmer the water the stronger hurricane can potentially be.

    Jennifer - Chat Guest at ASFL from Hun, asks:
    In what way has the US Space program help predict hurricanes?

    NASA launches the satellites out in space.

    Rick Brietzke - Teacher at Purdy Elementary School from Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin asks:
    How far up in the atmosphere do hurricanes reach?

    Hurricanes can easily reach 50,000 ft. So, almost 10 miles.

    Hollie Miller - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from Depere, Wisconsin comments:
    The chat room will be closing in approximately five minutes. At this time, we would like to thank everyone for joining us for this special event. We would especially like to thank Dr. Steven Meyer for being our chat host today.

    Laura Fantazzi - Chat Guest at Badger Elementary from North Pole, Alaska asks:
    How were hurricanes measured before the use of satelites and computers?

    Unfortunately, before satellites hurricanes were only measured either by unsuspecting ocean going vessels or after the hurricane made land fall.

    Crystal - Chat Guest at w.s.mount from , asks:
    How do hurricanes get more powerful?

    It a combination of things. The key is to get more moisture rich air to flow into the center of the storm at the surface. To do this, you need the winds in the upper levels of the atmosphere to be just right.

    Hollie Miller - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from Depere, Wisconsin comments:
    Please join us again on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2005 for a chat with Ken Edgett of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission. During this chat, you will have an opportunity to discuss missions to Mars.

    Ally - Chat Guest at W.S. Mount Elementary from , asks:
    What does a hurricane look like on a radar?

    Radars show rainfall. In a hurricane, the rainfall follows the spinning pattern of the hurricane. It is really cool to watch in time lapse.

    Calvin - Chat Guest at Fox Valley Christian Academy from Neenah, WI asks:
    How is modern technology being used to predict hurricanes and typhoons?

    I am unaware of any technology that is able to accurately predict hurricane formation.

    Mitchell - Student at Academy For Science Foreign from Huntsville, Alabama asks:
    do hurricanes show urp on radar?

    Yes, but not until they get pretty close to your location (150 miles or so).

    Hollie Miller - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from Depere, Wisconsin comments:
    Thank you to Dr. Steven Meyer for participating in a chat with us today!

    Calvin - 4th grade - Chat Guest at Fox Valley Christian Academy from Neenah, WI asks:
    THANK YOU!

    Thank you!! I hope I helped answer some of the questions you had about hurricanes.

    Hollie Miller - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from Depere, Wisconsin comments:
    9/20/2005 11:56:27 AM - Room closed by Moderator. Thank you for your participation.

     
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