Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katrina, Maria, Sandy. Hurricanes have been major news stories in 2005 and 2012, and continue to be in 2017, starting in August when Harvey crossed the Caribbean and made landfall in Texas. What causes these gigantic spiraling storms? In Engines of Destruction: The Science of Hurricanes, Joe Hanson of It’s Okay to Be Smart explains a bit about their history, how they form, and how we rate their intensity levels.

Below, he puts Hurricane Harvey measurements into perspective:

Additional reading and resources via IOTBS: Yale survey of climate change risks and Hurricane frequency and damage estimates over last century.

Next: Weather vs. Climate + Severe Weather with Crash Course Kids.

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