Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Causes of hurricanes
Name: Pleasant Lane
Status: Other
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 

What causes a hurricane?

Hurricanes are caused when a large mass of air is heated up - as it rises it starts to swirl like water going down a drain (except the air is moving up, not down). There is more to it than that, but you will have to ask one of the experts in the general/earth science section, or look it up in an encyclopedia.


Hurricanes are tropical storms. The warm humid air of the tropics rises. As the air rises, it cools, and the moisture condenses to cloud and rain drops. Heat energy is released in the condensation process. Tropical storms usually occur in late summer and fall when the oceans in the northern hemisphere are at their warmest. When a hurricane makes landfall it loses the tropical moisture - the fuel that feeds the storm. Hurricanes weaken rapidly over land.


Click here to return to the Environmental Science

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory