If hurricanes emit the energy of 10,000 nuclear bombs, what inputs this much energy?


NASA says that during a hurricanes lifecycle, it can expend as much energy as 10,000 nuclear bombs. Because energy can’t be created, what is the cause of that energy input?

In: Earth Science

It’s from sunlight.

Different parts of the world heat up more quickly than others, which causes evaporation and temperature gradients, eventually leading to wind, storms, & hurricanes.

Heat from the ocean water during its formation and strengthening cycles as it moves towards land. Technically, the heat from the ocean comes from the sun, so hurricanes are solar-powered.

The enormous thermonuclear bomb at the center of the solar system.

The Sun bombards earth with an immense amount of energy every day, and this fuels most weather processes and most of life as we know it.

The Sun. In the core of the sun, tiny hydrogen atoms are being fused into helium atoms. Einstein tells us with “E=mc^2” that you can turn mass into energy. One helium atom is actually lighter than 4 hydrogen atoms, so a bit of that mass gets turned into energy, which flies through space and hits the water, heating it, and turning it into a big storm.

Ultimately it is the Sun, warmer oceans have warm air above them which sucks in air faster to the seed of a hurricane causing it to grow. https://youtu.be/VWCVohW5mD8

Sun heating the oceans. Just a fraction of its power.

To scale it: all the A bomb used up to now didn’t raised our planet temp by 0.1 degree.

The sun does it continuously and by 290 degrees above the zero of the outer space.

The sun puts out far more energy than that by orders of magnitude. More energy is emitted by the sun in a day than has been used by all of humanity ever. Grant you only a tiny amount of that hits the earth but still gives a sense of scale.

In this case energy actually is created. Effectively the sun converts matter into energy just as all nuclear reactions do. The sun operates on fustian where nuclear reactors function of fission reactions but the idea is the same that matter is converted into energy. The exact science is a bit complex for the uninitiated but the sun turns hydrogen atoms (the same that make up water molecules) into energy.