General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

Are any of the properties of liquid water responsible for the nature and tremendous power of hurricane like storms?

Asked by Ltryptophan (10780points) February 15th, 2019

We observe storms that are similar to our hurricanes on other planets. Some of these storms are made up of other liquids.

Is there anything about liquid water, in particular, that would make it more likely than another element, or molecule to begin churning into a city crushing weather system?

Is it all about gravity, tides, wind currents, and any liquid will suffice?

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28 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Water has a higher specific heat capacity. 4.19 units. Holds more heat.
Cut and paste
Heat capacity or thermal capacity is a measurable physical quantity equal to the ratio of the heat added to an object to the resulting temperature change. The unit of heat capacity is joule per kelvin J/K, or kilogram metre squared per kelvin second squared kg·m²/K·s² in the International System of Units. The dimensional form is L²MT⁻²Θ⁻¹. Specific heat is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one kilogram of mass by 1 kelvin.

also

Why is the specific heat of water high?

Water has a high heat capacity because a lot of heat energy is required to break the hydrogen bonds found in a molecule of water. Because the majority of heat energy is concentrated on breaking the hydrogen bonds, the water molecule itself heats up after the bonds are broken.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

The cycle of evaporation and condensation transfer the energy in the medium (water or whatever) to the gases (air on Earth) and medium moving as wind twists up to the clouds in both Hurricanes and Tornadoes!

stanleybmanly's avatar

TW’s explanation says it all. It’s the transfer of heat through evaporation of water that provides the energy to drive a hurricane. Cyclonic storms are in effect heat driven. But the destructive force of water, as with that of flying lumber, trees or concrete is about the density of whatever the wind is hurling and intensity of that wind.

kritiper's avatar

The warmer the water, the more violent the storm. Has to do with sinking cold air and rising warm air.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Hence why global warming is leading to more frequent, and more powerful, hurricanes.

seawulf575's avatar

I’m not sure I understand the question. Hurricanes are not defined by water, they are defined by wind speed. The water is a factor only because of the flooding it does and the impact on the ground, but it is not specific to a hurricane being a hurricane. So if, for example, on Venus, you have hurricane force winds and they are blowing carbon dioxide or carbonic acid around and that is impacting the ground it may interact with similar effect to the ground here on Earth, softening it, causing it to blow around, etc.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@seawulf575

The energy in the the hurricane (wind) is caused by the evaporation (over warm oceans) small one lifts are called thermals and are what gliders can fly on.

seawulf575's avatar

@Tropical_Willie I thought it had more to do with barometric pressure differentials. The lower pressure at the eye of the storm is what draws all the moisture out of the ocean. And warmer ocean water compared with the cooler air temp is usually what causes that pressure differential. But in the end, it is the wind speed that dictates whether a storm is a hurricane or not, and how strong it is on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Here is an explanation of Hurricanes from Weather dot Gov. Paragraph 1 says 79* F water is required for evaporation to start the Hurricane process.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Tropical Willie Great Link.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@seawulf575 barometric pressure differentials are the result of the temperature differences between the rising warmer air and the cooler layers above. A barometer is a weather gauge because it is an indicator of the rate and amount of “sucking” vacuum resulting from warm air flowing to cooler regions.

seawulf575's avatar

@stanleybmanly actually temperature is only one of the impacts on barometric pressure. This link
https://www.weather.gov/source/zhu/ZHU_Training_Page/winds/pressure_winds/Pressure.htm
will explain what I mean. Barometric pressure is a measure of air density. And your example is wrong on a number of levels. First off, vacuums are commonly referred to as “sucking” when in fact it is the exact opposite. An area of lower pressure allows higher pressure to “blow” into it. Secondly, warm air is less dense than cool air so it is physically impossible for it to flow from warm to cold.

seawulf575's avatar

@Tropical_Willie I looked at your link and it does say that 26C water is required for a hurricane. But it also list 5 other items that contribute and if you look down at the fourth one, you come to wind sheer. Your own link says this is probably the most important contributor. So while on this planet water is a big player in setting conditions for creating a hurricane, it is not the only one.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It is interesting to hear that a “flow”of hot air is impossible. The concept of the ocean “pushing” water from its surface as an explanation for evaporation is also intriguing.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@seawulf575 You continue to describe wind blowing across land or water.

Hurricanes cannot form while there is upper level wind shear, the tops of the thunderstorm are pushed away. “Hurricanes will not form when the upper level winds are too strong.”

If you don’t have 26* C water you don’t get a hurricane, hurricanes don’t form over Atlanta either.
SMH

seawulf575's avatar

@Tropical_Willie yet there are hurricane type events that happen on other planets. And not a single one of those planets have water. And none of them are at 26C. Please explain that. SMH

seawulf575's avatar

@stanleybmanly The ocean does not push water from it’s surface. However barometric pressure drops can and do impact the rate of evaporation. Just like water will boil below 212 F in a lower barometric pressure (at a higher elevation for example), the evaporation rates will change as well.
As for hot air flowing, that is true as well, when you are saying it will flow into a more dense area. Density of liquids or gases (or solids for that matter) are funny that way. Oil is less dense than water so the water is always going to be lower than the oil. The oil NEVER flows into the water on its own. If you could heat up just the water, you could lower its density and the oil may hit a point where it is the denser material and it would sink. The same holds true with gases. Cooler gases are more dense than warmer ones. Always. By definition. You cannot have warmer gases flowing into cooler gases. The cooler gases will always flow and displace the warmer ones.

stanleybmanly's avatar

What you have is warmer gases displacing cooler gases and it is not the the barometric pressure driving the hot air upwards, but the vacuum resulting from the pressure difference between the hot air moving upward and the cooler air moving down. What I am really saying is that heat does indeed flow. The 2nd law of thermodynamics insists on it, and the transfer of that heat is from the warmer region to the cooler as the 2 regions “seek” equilibrium in both temperature and pressure. But it is the evaporation of moisture and the heat liberated from the condensation of that moisture which drives the entire show.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@seawulf575

Absolutely other planets have water. Granted, Earth is the only planet we know of that has stable bodies of liquid, but other planets have water as well. Mostly in the form of water vapor, but they do have it.

seawulf575's avatar

@Darth_Algar there are planets that are suspected of water, but none that are confirmed. Europa for example seems to have indications of liquid, but it has not been confirmed to be water. It could be hydrochloric acid for all we know. There are other moons in our solar system that are suspected of possibly having water, but again…none confirmed.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@seawulf575 pst pst pst hydrochloric acid is HCl in an aqueous solution WATER

seawulf575's avatar

@stanleybmanly you obviously have no understanding of basic physics. Let me help

https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/05/16/why-doesnt-the-vacuum-of-space-suck-up-earths-atmosphere/#237848425fff

https://science.howstuffworks.com/question200.htm

As for the 2nd law of Thermodynamics, you are using an incorrect analogy. First, start with what heat is. Heat is the kinetic energy of the molecules. When we heat something, we are transferring kinetic energy to its molecules. The transfer of heat, which is what the 2nd Law deals with is the transfer of that kinetic energy from one molecule to the next.
But the transfer of warm air to cold air is not the transfer of the energy between the molecules. If it were, there wouldn’t be flowing at all. All the air molecules would continue to transfer kinetic energy until all the air was at the same temperature. The “flowing” is entirely based on gas density. Ever hear “heat rises”? That is based on the density. But the problem is that it has to have somewhere to go. If you have a layer of cold air on top of or next to a layer of warm air, the cold air will always sink. Gravity works that way. As it sinks, that opens up to which the warmer air is pushed. Now granted, as they pass each other, there will be a transfer of kinetic energy between molecules and some changes in temperatures of the gas layers.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@seawulf575

Incorrect. We know there is water out there. It may not be in liquid form, but it is out there. You seem to be equating water with liquid, when water takes several forms.

stanleybmanly's avatar

So hurricanes are gravity driven? Hot air rises because those molecules you talk about are more energetic. The gas density is determined by the heat. In a closed system heat temperature and pressure interact. If the volume is constant and heat added the pressure will rise because the molecules are more energetic. If heat is removed from the system density increases and the pressure drops. Your article is correct. The technically correct desscription of a vacuum cleaner isn’t that it sucks up dirt and your refrigerator doesnt cool your food, but that is the terminology commonly used to describe those events. And don’t fool yourself for a second into believing you can dig up some article on the net and beat me at physics (or anything else).

seawulf575's avatar

In a closed system you are almost right. Except our atmosphere doesn’t qualify as a closed system. Sorry, just another misunderstanding by you. And I don’t have to dig up an article from the net to beat you at physics. That has been my life for the past 35 years. But since you are nothing but walking arrogance, you would never believe anything I tell you unless I give you a supporting document from the net. And even then you argue. Even when you say things that are 100% wrong, you continue to argue. I even pulled articles that were in simple enough language for you to understand without having to struggle and STILL you argue. Of course YOU don’t ever show anything to support you view…that would be too much to ask.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Are you kidding? Just look at that pile of nonsense you intersperse with gleaned facts: the flowing of hot air is an impossibility; heat can only be conducted through molecular transfer. Hot air cannot transfer heat. Heat isn’t responsible for the density of air, it is the density of the air which generates heat????

seawulf575's avatar

Maybe if you actually went back and read what I wrote instead of incorrectly paraphrasing it and then actually took the time to understand it, you might catch up. Instead, you continue to spew garbage and refuse to show anything that supports your view. You are hot air.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@seawulf575 Has not taken any weather OR physics classes ever ! But knows all about weather and hurricanes and tornadoes and wind and everything about ANYTHING!

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