Hurricane Irene

This August 25th satellite image shows Hurricane Irene over the Bahamas and Florida. Hurricanes are fueled largely by the release of heat as warm water vapor in the rising air condenses. The hurricane requires a body of warm water to sustain the process, which is why hurricanes weaken drastically after they make landfall. Over open water, the heat released by condensation fuels higher winds, which lowers the pressure at the center of the system and helps increase the rate of evaporation near the ocean surface, providing additional warm vapor for future condensation. See more photos of Irene from space, along with video from the ISS#

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