Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Great Lakes Intensify Ferocity Of Passing Storms, Scientists Say

Date:
November 7, 1997
Source:
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
The Great Lakes exert a significant influence on passing cyclones, causing storms to speed up and grow in strength, say researchers at the University of Illinois and the Illinois State Water Survey. Also, the number of potentially dangerous storms is on the rise, they report.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The Great Lakes exert a significant influence on passing cyclones, causing storms to speed up and grow in strength, say researchers at the University of Illinois and the Illinois State Water Survey. Also, the number of potentially dangerous storms is on the rise, they report.

Related Articles


"Cyclones that traverse the Great Lakes have important impacts on the physical environment and human habitation in the region," said James Angel, a climatologist with the Survey. "There is a lot of development along the lakes, and when the water level is high -- as it is now -- the area becomes extremely vulnerable to shoreline damage from these storms. A better understanding of how the Great Lakes affect passing cyclones may allow better forecasting of these storms and their potential effects."

Cyclones are low-pressure storm centers, "often accompanied by high winds and heavy precipitation," said Scott Isard, a U. of I. professor of geography. "The ensuing storms can be huge, ranging in size from 800 to 1,500 miles in diameter."

To study the effect the Great Lakes have on passing cyclones, Angel and Isard examined the rates of movement and the changes in intensity for 583 cyclones that passed over the region between the years 1965 to 1990. The researchers' findings, published in the September issue of Monthly Weather Review, identify several important features regarding the lakes' influence on these storm systems.

"In general, we found that cyclones accelerated as they approached the Great Lakes region and increased in intensity over the lakes," Angel said. "This effect was most pronounced from September to November, when the surface waters of the lakes are warmer than the surrounding air and can provide a major source of both moisture and heat that energizes passing storms."

From January to March, when broken ice cover is generally present on the lakes, cyclones accelerated less and did not intensify, Angel said. However, cyclones that traversed the region during May and June did speed up and grow in strength.

"This surprised us, because the lakes are usually cooler than the overriding air mass during spring and summer, and have not generally been considered as an important energy source for cyclones at that time," Angel said. "We don't yet have a satisfactory explanation for this phenomenon."

In another study (to appear in the journal Climate), Angel and Isard analyzed trends in storm strength for the years 1900 to 1990. "We are seeing evidence of an increase in the number of stronger storms, particularly in the months of November and December," Angel said.

Historically, some of these cyclones have produced hurricane-force winds and caused extensive damage to shipping. The "great storm of 1913," for example, sank a dozen ships and claimed more than 250 lives. More recently, the ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald -- popularized in a ballad by Canadian singer and songwriter Gordon Lightfoot -- sank in Lake Superior during a major storm on Nov. 10, 1975. All hands were lost.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "Great Lakes Intensify Ferocity Of Passing Storms, Scientists Say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 November 1997. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/11/971107070528.htm>.
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. (1997, November 7). Great Lakes Intensify Ferocity Of Passing Storms, Scientists Say. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/11/971107070528.htm
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "Great Lakes Intensify Ferocity Of Passing Storms, Scientists Say." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/11/971107070528.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) — EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) — Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A rare tornado ripped roofs off buildings, uprooted trees and shattered windows Thursday afternoon in the southwest Washington city of Longview, but there were no reports of injuries. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) — Lava from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has accelerated as it travels toward a town called Pahoa. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins