Hypercanes – Can they happen?

Fictional Hypercane as seen from Space

In this world of ours, we have been given many questions but their answers are nowhere to be seen. We have been made to believe what we do not believe and many theories are fed in our minds through the media which leaves us no choice to believe that this is all true. One of them is the famous “dinosaur theory”. We human beings never know how they died or what were they like or were they really that cruel as shown in movies and films.

Many researchers, scientist and historians have given so many theories about the fatal blow that caused all dinosaurs to be wiped out leaving a deserted planet. Each scientist is giving new theory but there answers are yet to be found. One of the theory given by Kerry Emanuel, an American professor of meteorology, suggest that dinosaurs were wiped out by mega storms called “hypercane”

What is a hypercane?

Size of Hypercane to a major category-5 hurricane

A hypercane is considered as an extreme hurricane, both in size and power. Hypercanes require ocean temperatures around 50 °C, which is 15 °C warmer than the warmest ocean temperature ever recorded. This unusual rise can only be caused due to huge asteroid or comet hitting earth’s ocean or extremely severe global warming or massive underwater eruptions.

A hypercane is one-third the diameter of a normal hurricane and maybe twice as tall. Computer simulations suggest that the winds in the eyewall can reach up to almost the speed of sound, about 550 mph, a normal major hurricane in the North Atlantic ocean has winds up to 175 mph. A hypercane can cover the continent of Northern America completely. Such an intense storm would also damage the earth’s ozone. Water molecules in the stratosphere would react with ozone to accelerate decay into O2 and reduce absorption of ultraviolet light. At landfall, hypercane’s winds uproot nearly whole forest and toss boulders with a  60-foot tsunami-like storm surge flooding nearby shores. The water vapor and debris could remain suspended high in the atmosphere for years, disrupting the climate and the ozone layer.

Although hypercane has only be tested on Kerry Emanuel’s computer, it’s not really confirmed whether these are the basic things needed for a hypercane to come into existence or whether they have all these characteristics. Professor Kerry Emanuel believes that hurricane “do not happen own their own”, they need “to be triggered by some force”.

So was a hypercane that killed dinosaurs?

Comet hitting Earth

Scientist and researchers who have given this theory believe that there was not a single hypercane, but hundreds hypercane that wiped out these creatures.

A massive comet or asteroid hit the earth during the age of dinosaurs, this caused all the creature living below the comet’s path to die but what about the other areas of earth? Well, the comets caused the ocean temperatures to reach above 50 °C that caused hypercanes to come in to existence. For years, many hypercanes formed and travel from one continent to another leaving death and destruction. It took years for ocean temperatures to get back to normal and thus eventually hypercanes faded away.

Hypercanes in the Modern world

Super Typhoon Tip and Cyclone Tracy

There have been no reported hypercane as long as human memory remembers, hypercane is only seen on computer models, that suggest how powerful, bigger, taller and destructive hyercanes can be. But what about Super Typhoon Tip?

In 1979, a monsoon trough developed in the western Pacific ocean that in coming days became a massive category-5 hurricane on SSHS scale. The most amazing and shocking thing about this super cyclone was that it was about the half-size of the United States of America. It had winds up to 195 mph, some say that it had winds up to 200 mph gusting to 250 mph. It was about 2,220 km in diameter and the temperatures inside it’s eye were 30°C. Tip had a lowest pressure of 870 mbar, no tropical cyclone has ever achieved this on the planet earth. It made landfall in Japan as a weak tropical storm, the storm killed at least 86 people during its life-span. It also covered a large distance, Tip moved from central western Pacific Ocean and it’s remnants reached Alaska on October 22. Super typhoon Tip formed on October 4 and dissipated into a remnant on October 19, almost a two-week journey. Many scientist do believe that in the future the world will see many cyclones like Typhoon Tip.

A hypercane would be 8 to 10 times bigger than Tip, hypercanes could cover whole United states and the Indian Subcontinent. 

Hypercane : fact or fiction!

When something has never been observed in the real world unlike a virtual world, it remains a part of fiction. We still do not know whether there were hypercanes or not in the dinosaur age. If ocean temperatures do reach 50°C in the future with help of asteroid or comet then we human beings will not be able to see hypercanes as we all will be extinct before hypercanes could form, so it will always remain a fiction, yet some will be able to see a hypercane.


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