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Lecture 13

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Barbara Murck

Lecture 13 Damaging Storms & Coastal Impacts Damaging Storms & Coastal Impacts •Overview of Earth’s Climate System •Cyclonic Storms •Winter and Summer Storms •Coastal Impacts –Storm surge –Coastal erosion •Rapid-Onset & Slow-Onset Hazards Overview: Earth’s Climate System •The climate system is very complex •Driven (primarily) by solar energy •Characterized by: –Many interacting parts –Complicated feedback systems –Chaos, and extreme sensitivity to initial conditions (the “butterfly effect”) –Scientific uncertainties –Uncertainties in human impacts and policy Solar energy heats the atmosphere and drives air circulation There is a surplus of solar energy at the equator and a deficit of solar energy at the poles. The Coriolis effect and other factors cause the simple equator-to-pole circulation to break up into a series of cells, shown here. Global atmospheric circulation transfers heat from the equator to the poles The pressure gradient force causes air to move Air moves both vertically and horizontally Rising air: warm, moist. Leaves a low-pressure zone at the surface. Falling air: cool, dry. Leaves a high-pressure zone at the surface. Warm air rises, cool air sinks: convection •Air flows from areas of high to low pressure Rising air: warm, moist → rain Falling air: cool, dry → fair Rising air cools and then can no longer hold as much moisture Influences the distribution of climatic zones Cyclonic Storms •Cyclones start as areas of low pressure and gain energy as they track over warm water –Tropical depression –Tropical storm –Hurricane (N. Hemisphere – Atlantic Ocean and Eastern Pacific) –Cyclone (S. Hemisphere – Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean –Typhoon (Western Pacific Ocean) Cyclonic Storms •Quantifying cyclone magnitudes: –Saffir-Simpson Scale •Pressure in the centre (“eye”) •Wind speeds – gusts & sustained winds •Storm surge height •Damage caused or anticipated –Note that the “size” or “footprint” of the storm is not explicitly part of the scale. Storm Tracking •Monitori
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