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General stuff for midterm

Where do hurricanes get their energy?

1. Sun's radiation warms oceans and air above the water
2. Humid air rises, expands, and cools
3. Forms clouds, creating condensation and releases energy
*Begin over warm water in low pressure area


From ice, or solid, to gas


From gas to solid, or ice

Specific Heat

Amount of heat needed to raise temperature of a substance by 1 degree Celsius
EX: Water has a very high specific heat

Latent Heat

Energy that is released or absorbed during a phase change

Cloud Formation

1. Air rises
2. Air cools and loses energy
3. Air reaches 100% relative humidity
4. Condensation


Evaporated water and dust


Sun causes air to rise

Dew Point

Reached condensation, temperature


Horizontal movement from areas of high pressure to low pressure

Why does pressure occur?

Unequal heating of atmosphere

Local Winds

Caused by unequal heating within Earth's surface within a small area

Global Winds

Winds that blow steadily over long distances

Coriolis Effect

Earth's Rotation causes global winds to curve The way Earth's rotation makes winds in the Northern Hemisphere curve to the right and winds in the Southern Hemisphere curve to the left.

Horse Latitudes

Hot air cools, then sinks, no wind
30 degrees North and South of equator

Trade Winds

Blow from horse latitudes

Prevailing Westerlies

Blow northwest away from the horse latitudes

Polar easterlies

Cold air near the poles sinks and flows towards lower latitudes
Prevailing winds that blow from east to west between 60degrees-90degrees latitude in both hemisphere.


Band of air around the equator that is heated a rises with little wind and low pressure


Tropical storm that has winds of 118 km/hr or higher

Levels of Storms

Tropical Depression
Tropical Storm

Saffir-Simpson Scale

Classifies hurricanes according to wind speed, flooding, and potential for property damage

Storm Surge

Occurs when hurricane winds drive ocean water onshore, can reach 6 m above normal sea level

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