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Cause and Effect - Science (Grade 9)

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Cause and Effect - Science

In the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, we use the term "hurricane" to describe severe storms with high-velocity winds that rotate around a central, low-pressure core. The same type of disturbance in the Northwest Pacific is called a "typhoon" and "cyclones" occur in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean.

In order for a hurricane to form, two things must be present: a weather disturbance, such as a thunderstorm, that pulls in warm surface air from all directions and water at the ocean's surface that is at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius). Because it is the interaction of warm air and warm seawater that spawns these storms, they form over tropical oceans between about 5 and 20 degrees of latitude. At these latitudes, seawater is hot enough to give the storms strength and the rotation of the Earth makes them spin.

Hurricanes start simply with the evaporation of warm seawater, which pumps water into the lower atmosphere. This humid air is then dragged aloft when converging winds collide and turn upwards. At higher altitudes, water vapor starts to condense into clouds and rain, releasing heat that warms the surrounding air, causing it to rise as well. As the air far above the sea rushes upward, even more warm moist air spirals in from along the surface to replace it.

As long as the base of this weather system remains over warm water and its top is not sheared apart by high-altitude winds, it will strengthen and grow. More and more heat and water will be pumped into the air. The pressure at its core will drop further and further, sucking in wind at ever increasing speeds. Over several hours to days, the storm will intensify, finally reaching hurricane status when the winds that swirl around it reach sustained speeds of 74 miles per hour or more.

Eventually, hurricanes turn away from the tropics and into mid-latitudes. Once they move over cold water or over land and lose touch with the hot water that powers them, these storms weaken and break apart. Recent studies have shown a link between ocean surface temperatures and tropical storm intensity - warmer waters fuel more energetic storms.

Informational/Public Domain (source:
What is the first step in creating a hurricane?
  1. The rotation of the earth.
  2. The collision of warm air and wind.
  3. The condensation of water vapor into clouds.
  4. The evaporation of warm seawater.
What causes a tropical storm to be classified as a hurricane?
  1. When the winds hit a specific miles per hour speed
  2. When the weather system stalls over warm water
  3. When the pressure at the core continues to drop
  4. When the storm leaves the water and hits land
What causes these storms to weaken and break apart?
  1. Shifting wind direction
  2. Increasing pressure at the core
  3. Losing contact with heated water
  4. Rising humid air meeting winds
Pollinators, such as bees, birds, bats and insects, play a crucial role in flowering plant reproduction and in the production of most fruits and vegetables. Examples of crops that are pollinated include apples, squash, and almonds. Without the assistance of pollinators, most flowering plants cannot produce fruits and seeds. The fruits and seeds of flowering plants are an important food source for people and wildlife. Some of the seeds that are not eaten will eventually produce new plants, helping to maintain the plant population.

There are lots of things you can do to help wildlife and habitat. You can make a difference, from creating a certified wildlife habitat to finding plants and animals in your neighborhood. Check out some of these ideas and share them with your parents and friends: attract woodpeckers, attract butterflies, make a milk jug bird feeder, attract wildlife to your yard in winter, or learn about trash.

There are so many things you can do! For instance, two friends cleaned up a creek in their neighborhood, a kindergarten class held a bake sale to raise money for the rainforest, an elementary school collected almost 60 POUNDS of trash near their school, and a 4th grade class raised salmon from eggs and released them into a stream.

Informational/Public Domain (source:
What effect can people have by doing massive outdoor clean ups?
  1. They can raise money for sending to good causes.
  2. They can help stop people from dumping trash.
  3. They can help local wildlife and their habitats.
  4. They can increase the number of honeybees.
What would happen if the number of bees, birds, bats and other insects dramatically dropped?
  1. There would be less pollination of fruits and vegetables.
  2. Salmon eggs would not be released into nearby streams.
  3. People would stop eating apples, squash, and almonds.
  4. More money would need to be sent to rainforests.
What happens when some of the seeds from fruit and vegetables are not eaten?
  1. They go to waste in the ground.
  2. They become part of the national trash problem.
  3. They are fed to animals held in captivity.
  4. They grow into the next generation of plants.

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