Stormy Weather

Hurricanes, Monsoons, and Tropical Storms

What is a hypercane?

Professor Kerry Emmanuel at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is an authority on using computer models to simulate hurricane activity. In one extreme scenario, Emmanuel hypothesized what might happen if a large asteroid hit one of Earth’s oceans. Of course, there would be monstrous waves and immense heat generated by the impact, but there would be another side effect as well: a hypercane. A hypercane would occur after the impact because deep ocean waters would heat up. The result would be a strange hurricane that would only be about 10 to 20 miles (16 to 32 kilometers) across but would have incredible winds reaching 500 miles (800 kilometers) per hour! Such a hypercane would also be capable of jettisoning moisture upwards of 25 miles (40 kilometers) into the atmosphere.


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