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Late-Summer Ocean Temperatures Fuel Hurricanes

By Molly Cochran, Staff Writer
August 18, 2013; 10:39 AM ET
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Sept. 10 ushers in the peak of hurricane season, which runs through mid-October. Increased hurricane development in September and October can be attributed to warm ocean temperatures as well as high pressure and trade winds that help guide tropical waves off the coast of Africa.

With astronomical summer coming to an end on Sept. 21, many people may ask why hurricanes frequent the ocean waters late in summer.

Expert Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity said that the ocean temperatures do not reach their maximum until mid- to late-summer. After the summer solstice on June 21, daytime temperatures continue to rise along with the ocean temperatures.

After the vernal equinox, the sun continues to move from the equator toward the Tropic of Cancer. Margusity explains that once the summer solstice happens the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer providing direct sunlight to warm up the ocean.

"The sun is hitting a very concentrated area, so the water heats up much quicker," he said.

After the summer solstice, the sun begins to retreat back toward the equator so the area of concentrated direct sunlight slowly decreases and the water temperatures cool by mid-October.

Story by Staff Writer Molly Cochran


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