MadSci Network: Environment & Ecology

Re: could a forest help reduce hurricane formation coming out of africa??

Date: Mon Sep 20 11:57:55 1999
Posted By: In Koo Kim, Grad student, Atmospheric Physical Chemistry, University of Colorado @ Boulder
Area of science: Environment & Ecology
ID: 937524156.En

I don't believe so.  First of all, in order to have a hurricane you need 
lots of moisture.  This means hurricanes occur over the tropical oceans 
where it is warm and moist.  You need lots of solar energy to get those 
cyclonic cells going.  However, if it were possible to get these cells going 
over Africa, they would be linked to regional circulation patterns.  
Regional flora, like tropical rain forests, have been known to affect cloud 
formation overhead.  So it's possible that if a hurricane formed over the 
continent of Africa, forests would affect their formation.  But how much and 
in which way is unpredictable.  As for your second question, current weather 
predicting technologies are pretty dismal.  Due to stochastic factors (the 
butterfly in the forest flutters its wings to change a gust to change 
the...)in modelling, a six day weather forecast is about as good as it gets.  
Weather controlling is impossible today and I doubt it will ever be so 
within the next 500 years.  

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