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Breakdown: Why hurricanes can be beneficial

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 4:08 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -We often look at the damage and destruction that tropical systems cause and rightfully so but hurricanes can be beneficial. Here are some of the benefits to tropical systems.

One thing that tropical systems do is bring rainfall to areas that need it. Sometimes it can be too much at once but these systems can definitely bring an end to a drought.

The rain from a deteriorating system can help areas in the eastern Pacific as it occasionally gets caught up in the west-to-east flow of the United States and can sometimes reach the Desert Southwest. Many areas out west can use the rain so any moisture from these systems can help.

According to climatology Tropical Storm Debby in 2012 wiped out the drought in the Deep South, but the downside was it also led to major flooding in some areas. The Earth is always trying to search for a balance of temperature by spreading the warmth globally and hurricanes help with that process.

Hurricanes, are large storms and because of their size, they interact with the upper levels of the atmosphere, making them good at moving equatorial heat. According to research the equator would be way warmer and the poles could be a lot cooler without the help of tropical cyclones. Hurricanes churn up cool water from the oceans and this process can sometimes weaken new hurricanes that develop and pass over that same area.

Hurricanes can also restore barrier islands. Often times, we see images of battered barrier islands but sometimes barrier islands can get replenished by hurricanes. Hurricanes can bring sand and nutrients from the bottom of the ocean to barrier islands. The sand and nutrients allow the islands to get restored and not shrink and sink.

Hurricanes can also be helpful to plants. As tropical systems move onshore, the winds can blows spores and seeds further inland than normal. These seeds can restore lost growth after fires and urbanization. Tropical systems can also thin out leaves and tree foliage which may be beneficial to firefighters.

Another benefit is it can break up bacteria and red tide. When tropical systems develop and travel across the oceans, the water gets churned up by the wind and waves. This mixing helps break up bacteria and according to research end the red tide that happens along the Gulf and coastal areas along the west coast.

According to research, winds can oxygenate water, near surface which can helping restore life to areas where the red tide was.

Globally, tropical systems provide a temperature balance between the poles and the equator although the imbalance will remain in place due the way heat is distributed on earth.

Fresh nutrients and sediment brought in by hurricanes can spawn growth spurts in new plant life, which can later lead to upticks in animal life.

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