When is the exam? 1st February
What will you be examined on?
1) Tropical storms
1) Tropical storms / Hurricanes / Typhoons / Cyclone (all the same event) The strongest tropical storms are called hurricanes, typhoons or tropical cyclones. The different names all mean the same thing, but are used in different parts of the world. If these huge storms start in the Atlantic, off the west coast of Africa, they are called hurricanes.
Map showing route of Hurricane Mitch, 1998
In an average year, over a dozen hurricanes form over the Atlantic Ocean and head westwards towards the Caribbean, the east coast of Central America and the southern USA (Florida in particular). Hurricanes may last as long as a month and although they travel very slowly - usually at about 24 km/h (15 mph) - wind speeds can reach over 120 mk/h (75 mph).
Effects of tropical storms
The intense winds of tropical storms can destroy whole communities, buildings and communication networks. As well as their own destructive energy, the winds generate abnormally high waves and tidal surges. Sometimes the most destructive elements of a storm are the subsequent high seas and flooding. MEDCs are better placed to reduce the effects of tropical storms because they have more financial, educational and technological resources to help deal with them. They better able to observe and predict storm behaviour and can invest in infrastructure to withstand storms - as well as spending more money on repairing the damage caused. Preparation and prediction
Preparation and prediction techniques to help cope with hurricanes can be very different in MEDCs and LEDCs. MEDCs
MEDCs have the resources and technology, such as satellites and specially equipped aircraft, to predict and monitor the occurrence of storms. They are also equipped to train the emergency services appropriately and to educate people about necessary precautions. Storm warnings can be issued to enable the population to evacuate or prepare themselves for the storm. People can prepare by storing food and water or boarding up their windows. LEDCs
LEDCs are often less prepared. They may rely on aid (sometimes reluctantly) from MEDCs for the rescue and recovery process, as was the case with Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh, November 2007.
Bangladeshi villager affected by cyclone Sidr
Case study: Hurricane Katrina:
* Katrina was a category 4 storm.
* Storm surges reached over 6 metres in height.
* New Orleans was one of the worst affected areas because it is below sea level and protected by levees. These protect it from the Mississippi River and Lake Ponchartrain. The levee defences were unable to cope with the strength of Katrina, and water flooded into the city. * Despite an evacuation order, many of the poorest people remained in the city. * People sought refuge in the Superdome stadium. Conditions were unhygienic and there was a shortage of food and water. Looting was commonplace throughout the city. Tension was high and many felt vulnerable and unsafe. * 1 million people were made homeless and about 1,200 people drowned in the floods. * Oil facilities were damaged and as a result petrol prices rose in the UK and USA.
Droughts occur when a long period of abnormally dry weather leads to a severe water shortage. Droughts are also often caused by the activity of humans as well. Human activities that can help trigger droughts include: * Widespread cutting down of trees for fuel. This reduces the soil's ability to hold water and dries out the ground, triggering desertification, leading eventually drought. * Construction of a dam on a large river. This may help provide electricity and water to irrigate farmland near the reservoir: however, it may also cause drought downstream by severely reducing the flow of water. Effects of drought
Parched ground during...