In a recent commentary, the author states that hurricanes are the result of warm air heating the ocean waters, “Climate change increasing danger from tropical storms,” The Herald, Nov. 21). This is certainly not the case.
First, air is known to be a very poor conductor of heat.
Secondly, hurricane formation happens when sunlight heats the ocean’s surface causing water to evaporate. The rising moist air creates low pressure that draws in massive volumes of air from the surrounding atmosphere. Earth’s rotation causes these strong winds to spin around the eye or center of low pressure.
Why the author attributes hot air to the creation of hurricanes is puzzling. The causes of cyclonic weather have long been established.
Editor’s note: The commentary’s author, a professor and climate scientist at Rowan University, cites data that oceans, like the rest of the planet, are indeed warming: “On average, ocean surface temperatures increased by about 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit in 2011-20 compared with 1850-1900. About two-thirds of that warming happened in just the last four decades.” Those warmer temperatures are causing hurricanes to strengthen more quickly.