Chico State professor discusses importance of studying Hurricanes


CHICO, Calif. - A Chico State professor discussed how hurricanes are formed and the importance of studying them Tuesday.

Dr. Shane D. Mayor is an assistant professor at the Geological and Environmental Sciences Atmospheric Lidar Research Group.

Mayor said that hurricanes are comprised of two factors.

"I think the two big ingredients for a hurricane would be water vapor and rotation" said Mayor, "Hurricanes form over the ocean where the water is really warm."

Mayor said that the typical surface of the ocean has to be above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

"So there is a lot of water evaporation off of the ocean," said Mayor. "This water vapor is lifted through the atmosphere where it condenses into clouds that make thunderstorms."

Mayor said that as the water vapor condenses it releases heat and that heat fuels the storm even more.

"The second ingredient is rotation," said Mayor, "It is the earths rotation that is important."

Mayor said you have to have a coriolis effect with low latitudes and warm water.

Mayor said that it is important to study hurricanes.

"Anybody living in Houston or Florida knows how incredibly important it was to have a good forecast so that they could evacuate areas," said Mayor. "These forecasts directly translate into saving lives and billions of dollars."

If you want to learn more information about the science of hurricanes, Chico State is holding a seminar called "Understanding Hurricanes." The seminar will talk about the basics of these storms, the types of instruments used to measure hurricanes among other things.

The event will be held on Thursday at 4 p.m. in Ayres Hall at Chico State.

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