Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico: The History and Future of the Texas Coast









Dr. Kerry A. Emanuel
Professor of Atmospheric Science,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

What is the talk about?

“Professor to discuss likelihood of heavy hurricane rain” January 2013 feature in The Austin American Statesman

The Gulf of Mexico has seen some of the most destructive hurricanes on record.  What can residents in the Gulf region expect future storms to be like? Two weeks before Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, leading hurricane expert Dr. Kerry Emanuel published that he had discovered statistical evidence that hurricanes were indeed affected by global warming. He found that the duration and intensity of hurricanes worldwide have increased by about 50 percent since the 1970s and that this trend directly corresponds with a global increase in tropical sea surface temperature. Dr. Emanuel will share his groundbreaking research on how climate change can affect hurricane activity and discuss its implications for the Gulf region.

Presenter’s Biosketch
Dr. Kerry A. EmanuelDr. Kerry A. Emanuel is one of the world’s leading authorities on hurricanes. He is a professor in the Program in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he received his Ph.D. degree in Meteorology. He became a member of the MIT faculty in 1981 after 3 years at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society and a member of the National Research Council’s Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate. His research focuses on tropical meteorology and climate, with a specialty in hurricane physics. His work in air-sea interaction in tropical cyclones is well regarded among the meteorological community.

Dr. Emanuel has an extensive list of publications that include two books and more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers. His new book, Divine Wind: The History and Science of Hurricanes, was named one of the top twenty science books of 2005 by Discover magazine. In this book, he explains how tropical climates give rise to the most powerful storms in the world. TIME magazine named Dr. Emanuel one of the 100 most influential people for 2006 for his latest research, published in a recent issue of the journal Nature, which correlates the greater increasing hurricane intensity with human-induced global warming.

Schedule: Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 Location: UT Campus
5:45-7:00 PM: Community Science Fair Student Activity Center (SAC)
7:00-8:15 PM: Main Program Student Activity Center (SAC)
Directions and Parking
The Student Activity Center (SAC) is located on UT’s Campus at 2201 Speedway, Austin TX. Hot Science – Cool Talks attendees may park at San Jacinto Garage (SJG) for a fee.


Teaching Curriculum (PDF format)

Grades Resource Type Title  TEKS 
K-2 Lesson Plan Recipe for a Hurricane §112.11(b) 2(A)(B)(D)(E) 3(B) 4(B) 6(A)(D) 8(A)(B)(C)
§112.12(b) 2(A)(B)(D)(E) 3(B) 6(D) 8(B)(C)(D)
§112.13(b) 2(A)(D)(E)(F) 3(B) 6(D) 8(C)
3-5 Lesson Plan Birth of a Hurricane: Energy Cycles that Form Devastating Storms §112.18 9(A)(B)(C)
§112.19 8(A)
§112.20 10(A(B)(C)
6-8 Lesson Plan Storm Surge Synthesis §112.19(a) 4(C)
§112.19(b) 8(A)
6-8 Lesson Plan Tracking Tempests §112.18(b) 1(A)(B) 2(A)(B)(C)(D)(E)
§112.19(b) 1(A)(B) 2(A)(B)(C)(D)(E), 8(A)(B)
§112.20(b) 1(A)(B) 2(A)(B)(C)(D)(E)
9-12 Lesson Plan Visualizing Cyclone Mechanics §112.32(c) Aquatic Science Grade 10-12: 8A, 8B
§112.35(c) Chemistry, Grade 10-12: 4B, 4C, 9A-C, 11A-E
§112.36(c) Earth and Space Sciences, Grade 11-12: 9A, 11E, 13B, 14C, 15A, 15E
§112.37(c) Environmental Systems, Grade 11-12: 8A, 8E
§112.38(c) Integrated Physics and Chemistry, Grade: 9, 10: 9A, 9B, 9D, 9E
§112.39(c) Physics, Grade 9-12: 4A, 4B, 6A-G
n/a Learning Module Hidden Turbulence: What Happens below the Ocean’s Surface during a Hurricane? n/a
n/a Learning Module Storm Surge: A Hurricane’s Trump Card n/a