Why Keep an Eye on the Barometer?

Part C: Comparing Air Pressure and Wind Speed for an Entire Hurricane Season

The relationship between air pressure and wind speed appears to be quite clear for Hurricane Katrina, but does it hold true for other hurricanes? Is it safe to generalize the results of one hurricane to all hurricanes? To check, you'll do a similar analysis, this time using pressure and wind speed from all the hurricanes of 2005.

  1. Download and open the 2005 Atlantic Hurricanes (Excel 2007 (.xlsx) 33kB Aug6 18) file in your spreadsheet application. The data in this file are in the same format as the Katrina data.
  2. Use the same technique as you did in Part B to generate a scatter plot, trendline, and linear equation comparing the air pressure and wind speed of all the 2005 Atlantic hurricanes.
  3. Save the resulting spreadsheet file and graphs.

    Stop and Think

    8: Does the scatter plot for the 2005 Atlantic hurricanes show a relationship between pressure and wind speed that is similar to the Hurricane Katrina graph? Would you predict that the relationship between air pressure and wind speed in other years' hurricanes or in Pacific storms would be similar? Why or why not?

    9: Based on your graph and trendline, estimate the minimum air pressure that seems to be required to cause hurricane-force winds of 65 knots or higher. Discuss how confident you are in the accuracy of your estimate.

    10: In your own words, describe why it's a good idea to keep your eye on the barometer.

Challenges to Consider

  • Predict how the scatter plots for air pressure versus wind speed would look for low- versus high-intensity hurricanes. Go to the HURDAT database and find appropriate storms, then graph and analyze the data to check your prediction.
  • Predict if you would see a difference in the air pressure versus wind speed graphs for active versus quiet hurricane seasons. Access data for different seasons and analyze it to check your prediction.