Teaching About Hurricanes

We are in the peak of the 2017 hurricane season. As Texas recovers from Harvey, Irma bears down on Florida. Here are several educational resources to help you teach about hurricanes.

Resource Collections and Comprehensive Sites

EarthLabs Hurricanes Module

This module from the EarthLabs collection contains nine different labs in which students explore satellite imagery and visualizations and do some hands-on experiments. Students learn what a hurricane is and how they form. They explore over 150 years of storm data to find out when and where these storms occur. Students examine the frequency and intensity of hurricanes and the dangers to life and property that they pose.

CLEAN Resources

This set from the Climate Literacy and Awareness (CLEAN) collection has been rigorously reviewed. Resources support the Next Generation Science Standards and include activities, videos, and visualizations.

National Hurricane Center

This site contains data, including imagery and GIS files, tools, forecasts, and many educational resources. The mission of the center is to save lives, mitigate property loss, and improve economic efficiency by issuing the best watches, warnings, forecasts and analyses of hazardous tropical weather, and by increasing understanding of these hazards.

Hurricane Videos from NASA.gov

This comprehensive search of the NASA.gov YouTube channel contains many videos of actual hurricanes viewed from space along with videos explaining various aspects of the science behind the storms.

Windows To The Universe

This set from the Windows To The Universe collection provides background information about hurricanes, an NBC LEARN video, "When Nature Strikes - Hurricanes" with supporting activity, an image gallery, and other resources.

JetStream National Weather Service: Tropical Weather

These pages from JetStream, the National Weather Service Online Weather School, provide background information about tropical weather and tropical cyclones. JetStream helps educators, emergency managers, or anyone interested in learning about weather and weather safety.

Individual Resources

InTeGrate Natural Hazards and Risks: Hurricanes Module

This two week module from the InTeGrate collection explores how hurricanes connect the ocean-atmosphere-terrestrial systems and society. Students evaluate how hurricane hazards and risks have changed with coastal development. They use data to track historic hurricanes and compare the impacts from different hurricanes. At the end of the module students engage in a role-playing activity to identify and represent stakeholders facing hypothetical hurricane evacuation in their town.

Exploring and Animating GOES images

This chapter from the Earth Exploration Toolbook guides students through the process of locating Geostationary Satellite Server (GOES) images on the Web, exploring those images, and creating animations of storm and cloud movement with the freely available software, ImageJ. These animations are used to calculate the speed and direction of clouds and storms. To practice animating and measuring, students track the movement of Hurricane Ivan as it moved across the Gulf of Mexico and into Mobile Bay in September 2004. The same data analysis techniques can be applied to more recent storms.

Articles

Did Climate Change Intensify Hurricane Harvey?

This article from The Atlantic discusses how warm ocean surface waters fuel more intense hurricanes. The influence of human-induced climate change on ocean temperature exacerbates the situation. Scientists predict more intense hurricanes will continue to develop in the future.

The Relationship Between Hurricanes and Climate Change

This article from The New York Times discusses how the science linking climate change to hurricanes is still emerging. However, global temperatures have been rising and scientific research and computer modeling suggest there will more intense storms in the future.