What is a hypercane?
Tue, 27 Apr 2010 03:07:30 GMT — Hyperbole, hypertension, hyperbaric, hypercane. Wait, hypercane? It could be said that the hypothetical hypercane is basically a hurricane on steroids, and some theorize they may have wiped out the dinosaurs. Others have a theory that we might see one of these storms in our lifetime.Visually, a hypercane on satellite wouldn TMt look exceptionally impressive. It would actually appear to be smaller than a hurricane like Hurricane Katrina, but its punch would wipe out all life forms in its path!A large hurricane can produce hurricane force winds up to 300 miles away from the eye of the storm " roughly the distance from Amarillo to Santa Fe. A hypercane TMs hurricane force winds would extend much further. If the center of a hypercane was placed in Kansas, the hurricane force winds would impact Los Angeles and Washington D.C.Wind speeds in a Category 5 hurricane can reach upwards of 155 mph. Hypercane wind speeds would easily reach 500 mph. Hurricane Katrina was practically an average breezy day in the Panhandle, compared to the strength of the winds in a hypercane.How might one of these storms come into existence?It would have to be a cataclysmic event such as an asteroid or comet strike or something like a super volcanic eruption to get a 122 degree temperature increase. Said Scott Plischke, a Meteorologist at the National Weather Service.Hurricanes generally form off the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and that water fuels them. Hypercanes would form in the same way but with one major difference: ocean water temperatures would be much hotter.Plischke said, The process is similar to a standard hurricane, but with the sea surface temperatures being 122 degrees Fahrenheit| we TMre looking at a substantially stronger updraft. The updraft could actually go up to 20 miles into the atmosphere and puncture the troposphere.Not only would the strong winds, rainfall, flooding and lightning wipe out civilization, dinosaurs, and vegetation and basically life as we know it, there TMs one more thing. The height of these storms would reach the Ozone layer where the water molecules would destroy the protective shield. The eye of the storm would act as a funnel, transporting un-filtered radiation to the earth TMs surface. It would be like burning an ant with a magnifying glass except we TMre the ants and the eye of the storm is the glass.Though one hypercane may not actually destroy the entire nation, one after another could certainly do enough damage to cause the dinosaurs to become extinct. So, how likely is it that hypercane led to the extinction of the dinosaurs?There TMs two competing theories| there was the asteroid impact which everyone hears about and then also at the same time there were massive volcanic eruptions in India. Both of those things would have wreaked havoc on the climate and with everything that was going on, a hypercane would have been just one more event amongst wildfires, and tsunamis, and earthquakes, and volcanoes and everything else that was happening. So either way you look at it, the dinosaurs were having a really bad time. Said Dr. Hobbs, a geologist from Amarillo College Department of Science.Those who accept the idea of global warming are concerned that the rising temperature of ocean waters may lead to the development of such a storm, as evidenced by the increasing number of destructive hurricanes that have made landfall in recent years.Plischke said, It TMs not plausible|theoretically it TMs possible, but you would have to have sea surface temperatures of about 122 degrees. Even the worst-case global warming scenarios don TMt call for temperatures to rise that much. We TMre looking at maybe 3-7 degrees for global warming, but to get sea surface temperatures up to 122 degrees is highly unlikely.Whether or not hypercanes were real, or could become a reality remains to be seen. The earth TMs weather is a complex, and chaotic force that we may never fully understand, but it never hurts to think about the what ifs!