“The Brown Ocean Effect”, When Hurricanes Feed off the Land

by Owen James Burke

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Tropical storms sometimes wreak their worst havoc beyond the shoreline. Photo: Skymet

Tropical Storm Bill is closing in on the Texas coast this morning as the state braces itself for more potentially devastating flooding. The worst of the storm, however, may come only after it makes landfall.

Usually, as a tropical storm reaches land it dissipates, but in the wake of heavy flooding–some areas of Texas saw up to 20 inches of rain in the past month–the hot, soggy earth can act like a warm sea, and possibly help feed the storm, NASA-funded research suggests.

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Tropical Storm Bill off the coast of Texas at approximately 2:30 pm EDT June 15, 2015. Image: NASA.

This is what they’re calling “the brown ocean effect”, and we won’t know whether it’s taking place until the storm has formed an eye and is well over dry land.

Read more at Weather Underground. – OJB

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