Student Research Reports
Can Atmospheric Measurements Explain the Damage from Hurricanes Zeta and Katrina?
Organization(s):Christian Colliegiate Academy
Student(s):Kaedon Anderson, Mason Easley, Ethan Kresse, Nathaniel Mooney, Ava Poage, Michael Smith
Grade Level:Secondary School (grades 9-12, ages 14-18)
GLOBE Teacher:Mark Hepler
Contributors:Mrs. Melissa Wedel (Biology Teacher)
Report Type(s):International Virtual Science Symposium Report
Protocols:Air Temperature, Barometric Pressure, Precipitation, Relative Humidity
Presentation Poster: View Document
Humidity, wind speed, and water temperature are some of the main components in severe weather events. Hurricanes are a major concern of tropical and subtropical coastal communities. Low-pressure systems over warm water can create strong hurricanes. The Atlantic hurricane season occurs from June first to November thirtieth each year. A hurricane begins with a tropical depression which is a tropical cyclone with winds of 38 mph or less. The next stage is a tropical storm which has a wind speed of 39-73 mph which can intensify into a hurricane with wind speeds of 74 mph or more. Hurricanes can become major hurricanes once their wind speed increases to 111 mph or higher. Looking at the damage to the Mississippi Gulf Coast from Hurricane Katrina and 2020's Hurricane Zeta, our team wanted to see if atmospheric measurements could help to predict the damage seen in these storms and other storms. Once a hurricane forms, the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale helps to predict damage and rate the storm by wind speed into a category (NOAA, n.d.). While damage can be estimated or anticipated, atmospheric measurements alone cannot fully predict the damage in major storms like Katrina and Zeta. Since Hurricane Katrina, better tools have made narrowing the cone of impact better. These tools include better satellites with more frequent photos and supercomputers to better predict and model storm intensity, behavior, and track (Prociv, 2015).