A hurricane initiation mechanism, believed to
be new, is proposed for the eastern tropical North Atlantic Ocean. It starts
with an outbreak of warm dry air from the Sahara Desert moving out over a
fairly large region of ocean just west of the big bulge of Africa. Critical to
the hypothesis is the experimental fact that heat diffuses significantly slower
in air than water vapor does. In summer and early fall the desert air of the
outbreak is warmer than the ocean surface it first encounters. Thus this air
layer is cooled from below, which is initially stabilizing. However, water
vapor diffuses up into the dry air faster than the air’s heat diffuses down to
the sea surface, all over the generating region simultaneously. Consequently, a
horizontally large layer of air somewhat above the sea surface becomes buoyant
(less dense) and rises up as a unit, and the pressure of this layer decreases
by the perfect gas law. Then the water vapor in the ascending air condenses
around dust particles brought in from the desert, releasing heat and producing
an additional upward acceleration of the already ascending air. Atmospheric
pressure lowers further in accordance with Bernoulli’s law: where the
(vertical) speed is greatest, the pressure is least. Measurements are suggested
to validate the hypothesis if they do not already exist.
Cite this paper
Kenyon, K. (2014) Hurricane Initiation: An Hypothesis. Natural Science
, 278-281. doi: 10.4236/ns.2014.65031
 Palmen, E. and Newton, C.W. (1969) Atmospheric Circulation Systems. Academic Press, New York, 471-522.
 Musk, L.F. (1988) Weather Systems. Cambridge University Press, New York, 133-142.
 Moran, J.M. and Morgan, J.M. (1991) Meteorology, the Atmosphere and the Science of Weather. MacMillan College Publishing Company, New York, 338-355.
 Anthes, R.A. (1997) Meteorology. Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 113-124.
 Kenyon, K.E. (1999) North Pacific High: An Hypothesis. Atmospheric Research, 51, 15-34.http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0169-8095(98)00110-0
 Cussler, E.L. (1997) Diffusion. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 497.
 Ackerman, S.A. and Knox, J.A. (2015) Meteorology: Understanding the Atmosphere. 4th Edition, Jones & Bartlett Learning, Burlington, 244-271.
 Krishnamurti, T.N., Stefanova, L. and Mirsa, V. (2013) Tropical Meteorology. Springer Atmospheric Sciences, New York, 331-359. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7409-8_16
 Ahrens, C.D. (2013) Meteorology Today. 10th Edition, Brooks/Cole, Belmont, 424-455.
 Jevons, W.S. (1857) On the Cirrus Form of Clouds. The London, Edinburg and Dublin Philosophical Magazine, 4th Series, 14, 22-35.
 Moran, J.M. (212) Weather Studies: Introduction to Atmospheric Science. American Meteorological Society, Boston, 412.