Every year, we hear horror stories of viscious tropical cyclones known as hurricaines causing immense amounts of catastrophic damage. These devastating storms are whipped up in the middle of the oceans and then pass over land, leaving a wake of annihalation behind it. These storms are given names in following a very specific nomeclature or naming convention.
Storms are named as a method of distinguishing between different storms in the same geographical area. If a storm brews shortly after another one, and they are headed on a similar trajectory, it is important for climatologists and meterologists to be able to distinguish between the two.
The act of naming a storm is to assign it a simple moniker which facilitates the communication between both scientists and lay people. The international convention on naming hurricaines is a simple one. From the start of the year, hurricaines will be named alphabetically and chronologically. For example, consider the first hurricaine in a given year. This storm will be named with a name whose first letter is an ‘A’. The next one to start up will be named with a ‘B’, and so on and so forth. This system also has an additional benefit, and that a given hurricaine can be related chronologically to any other in that year.
Given two ficticious hurricaines, Sally and Jim, we would be able to determine instantaneously that Jim came into existance before Sally, due to the alphabetical ordering of the letters ‘J’ and ‘S’. Thus scientists can improve their knowledge and reduce the amount of memorization that is required when multiple people wish to compare storm systems around the globe.
The actual names of Hurricaines are set on a series of lists, six to be precise. Each year, the names from a single list will be used. However, if a storm is so devastating (such as New Orlean’s Hurricaine Katrina or Halifax’s Hurricaine Juan), its name is permanently retired from its list and replaced with a new moniker.
Hurricaine names are an essential part of how modern scientists study the Earth and its natural weather phenomena, and thus they are a man-made tool which enables us to better understand and appreciate specific details about so many of our world’s wonders. This system of naming also helps everyday citizens in identifying and preparing for some of the most adverse weather that the Earth can offer.