Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Professors Chart Tropical Cyclones’ Role in Ending Drought in the Southeast

13.07.2012
Hurricanes and tropical storms can wreak havoc when they make landfall, often resulting in fatalities and causing billions of dollars in property damages.

But they also can have a silver lining, particularly when they are “drought busters,” as was the case for Tropical Storm Debby, which dropped more than 20 inches of rain in some parts of Florida and Georgia in late June.

“Drought is a far more protracted natural disaster than a tropical cyclone, and drought can have a huge economic impact,” said Dr. Peter Soulé, a professor in the Department of Geography and Planning at Appalachian State University.

“Generally, the news coverage of tropical storms runs to the negative, such as damages and lives lost,” Soulé said. “However, there are some benefits to landfalling tropical systems from the rainfall they produce that can end drought conditions.”

Storms that are considered tropical cyclones include tropical disturbances, tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes. The beneficial effects of “drought busters” have been studied since 1968 when A. L. Sugg published “Beneficial Aspects of the Tropical Cyclone,” in the Journal of Applied Meteorology.

Soulé and three other researchers analyzed tropical cyclones’ role in reducing drought conditions in the Southeastern United States. Their work, “Drought-Busting Tropical Cyclones in the Southeastern United States: 1950-2008” was published in the March 2012 issue of the journal Annals of the Association of American Geographers.

Dr. Justin Maxwell from Indiana University was the lead author of the research article. In addition to Soulé, the other authors were Dr. Paul Knapp from UNC Greensboro and Dr. Jason Ortegren from the University of West Florida. Their research is online at http://geo.appstate.edu/sites/geo.appstate.edu/files/Maxwell_Annals_2012.pdf.

They found that during the 58-year period, up to 41 percent of all droughts and at least 20 percent of droughts in three-fourths of the climate divisions in the Southeast were ended by tropical cyclone drought busters. In addition, they found that 4 to 10 percent of all rainfall in the Southeast occurred during the tropical cyclone season and that as much as 15 percent of rainfall in the Carolinas occurred from tropical cyclones.

“It turns out tropical cyclones were a very important process for ending drought,” Soulé said of the time period and region studied.

“Drought can be a far worse natural hazard in terms of cost because it is so long lived and affects such large areas,” Soulé said. “In the broad scheme of natural hazards it tends to rank high in terms of cost. People don’t usually think about how bad drought can be and how much money drought can cost.”

For example, the 1988 drought is estimated to have caused between $80 and $120 billion in damage including crop losses and destructive wildfires. Last year’s drought across the Southeast cost more than $10 billion in agricultural losses. Droughts also impact urban and rural water quality.

Currently, 65 percent of the U.S. is experiencing drought, according to the drought monitor website at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/). And while Tropical Storm Debby ended Florida’s drought, there is no guarantee that any of the five hurricanes and 13 named storms predicted for this hurricane season will make landfall and bring relief to the Southeast.

Last year’s season saw only one storm to make landfall in the Southeast.

“This year has been unusual in that we have already had four named storms, two which developed in May before the official beginning of the hurricane season on June 1,” Soulé said. “But there is no way to know what this season is going to hold.”

CONTACTS:
Dr. Peter Soulé, soulept@appstate.edu
Dr. Justin Maxwell, maxweljt@indiana.edu
Dr. Paul Knapp, paknapp@uncg.edu
Dr. Jason Ortegren, jortegren@uwf.edu

Dr. Peter Soulé | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.appstate.edu

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland
19.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>