Could 'Superhurricanes' Have Done in Dinosaurs?

By Cowen, Robert C. | The Christian Science Monitor, October 1, 1995 | Go to article overview

Could 'Superhurricanes' Have Done in Dinosaurs?


Cowen, Robert C., The Christian Science Monitor


North Americans and Caribbean islanders have been having a vigorous hurricane season with more Atlantic tropical storms already named than have ever been listed before.

But what they've seen is mild compared with the storminess that dinosaurs may have faced when they faded out 65 million years ago. Superstorms stirred up by asteroids or intensive submarine volcanism may have nudged the beasts toward the exit.

That's the conclusion that emerges from computer simulations run by Richard Rotunno of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and several colleagues. They've been playing an intellectual game that exercises both the computer model and their own understanding of how hurricanes work.

In a hurricane, billowing cumulus clouds pump heat and water vapor from the sea surface high into the atmosphere. Many hurricane studies focus on this action. But Dr. Rotunno explains that he and Dr. Emanuel think the interaction between the hurricane vortex and the sea surface is the key to how these great storms grow and intensify. Their computer simulations show that the warmer the sea surface is, the more intense are the storms that may develop.

Could this have a bearing on mass extinctions in the past? Some extinctions wiped out the majority of then-living species. For example, about 96 percent of all species in the fossil record around 245 million years ago vanished. Many scientists have suggested that massive volcanism or an incoming asteroid may have thrown up dust veils that blocked sunlight long enough to disrupt plant-based food chains.

Rotunno and Emanuel doubt such events could pollute the stratosphere long enough to affect global climate on the scale needed for mass extinctions. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Could 'Superhurricanes' Have Done in Dinosaurs?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.