||Exploring Tropical Cyclones
explores the occurrence, characteristics, and hazards of tropical
cyclones by examining world data sets of storms occurring during the
This module emphasizes six basic concepts: 1) heat is a driving force
in generating tropical cyclones, 2) the Coriolis effect initiates
rotation of tropical cyclones, 3) differences in temperature and pressure
create winds, 4) the physics and behavior of tropical cyclones can
be understood, allowing predictions to be made, 5) the high population
density on the coastlines of the US results in high levels of hurricane
risk, and 6) better observation, forecasting, and communication can
minimize hurricane-related damage and fatalities.
- Unit 1 - Recipe for a cyclone | Overview
- Students explore where, when, and why
tropical cyclones occur, explain when tropical cyclones form
and relate their seasonal nature to the hemisphere in which
they form, and relate seasonal sea surface temperature conditions
to tropical cyclone formation.
- Unit 2 - The life of a cyclone | Overview
- Students identify basic tropical cyclone
structure and rotation, identify the stages in the life cycle
of a tropical cyclone, from tropical disturbance through hurricane,
relate tropical cyclone images to data describing central pressure
and wind speed, and show where Atlantic hurricanes form, how
they move, where they die out, and how their location affects
their wind speed.
- Unit 3 - Hurricane hazards | Overview
- Students use appearance and surface
data to determine hurricane category, describe the relationship
between Saffir-Simpson category and economic impact on society,
compare characteristics of destructive hurricanes to those of
“average” hurricanes, investigate hurricanes and
society in pre-historical, historical, and present-day context,
focusing on the role of coastal population growth on increasing
hurricane hazards, and identify hurricane risks for major East
Coast cities using hurricane landfall probability data.
Cyclone path screen-shot
- Unit 4 - Hurricanes in the Big Apple |
Overview | Sample
- Unlike previous units, the activities
in this unit constitute a local case study of the risks involved
in a direct hit by a major hurricane in New York City. In the
case study, students 1) explore reasons for the extreme effects
of the hurricane on the city, 2) examine potential impacts of
the storm on society, and 3) plan procedures that might help
the city keep its citizens safe.
NYC probability screen-shot
** The SAGUARO Exploring GIS Investigations
for Earth Science curriculum requries the use of ESRI's ArcView®
GIS software version 3.0 for Macintosh or 3.2 and higher for PC.