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Hypercanes a Theoretical Possibility

Updated on January 10, 2015

Hypercanes come in two varieties. The larger kind is becoming an increasing possibility today.

Taken from space, this picture of of hurricane Catrina shows the structure of a typical hurricane.
Taken from space, this picture of of hurricane Catrina shows the structure of a typical hurricane.
Asteroid impact can create the local required conditions to create local, concentrated and high speed hypercanes.
Asteroid impact can create the local required conditions to create local, concentrated and high speed hypercanes.

Hypercanes have happened before and they can happen again when conditions are right.

Hypercanes have occurred within the geologic history of the evolution of the Earth. There are two forms of a hypercane. There is even a case in the recent past of a storm that approached the dimensions of a hypercane. Today with global warming, hypercanes are a theoretical possibility. To make things clear, a hypercane is a hurricane that far exceeds the worst category five storm, such as Katrina, in size and force of wind. A hypercane has even been described as a storm within a storm.

The Earth has been through many transformations in geological history. There are three instances where it froze into an ice ball and at least one instance where it became almost boiling hot with the result of gigantic storms that dwarfed anything that exists today. Earth became an ice ball in the period of 790 to 630 million years ago just prior to the Cambrian explosion of complex life. Prior to that and after the ice ball stage, an era of volcanic out gassing of carbon dioxide created global warming of such strength that the surface was nearly boiling. During this era, it is thought that hypercanes over the tropical oceans were a normal occurrence.

Greenhouse gases were low during the super glacial period where the whole world froze. It is also thought that a combination of orbital changes and lower solar output contributed to the effect of the increasing reflectivity of the Earth. Conversely, if one refutes a global snowball, they must then accept another condition just as radical in it implications. That alternative is pole shift that would account for the signature of a past ice pack at the equator.

Suddenly, the Earth thawed when carbon dioxide levels rose sharply and went to the other extreme. The masses of ice melted within decades and literally changed the world. World wide floods were normal. As temperatures then rose without restraint, the era of the hypercanes resulted that lasted for millions of years. Must of these occur over the open oceans as there was one super continent in that era. By 570 million year ago, the Earth had settled to conditions that allowed for modern life to arise. Since then, it has neither been a snowball nor a steam sauna. But with modern industry and pollution with greenhouse gasses, the boiling Earth condition threatens to return with its hypercanes.

There was a typhoon that is considered to be a super storm, but not a hypercane. That storm was Typhoon Tip in the Pacific Ocean during typhoon season of October 12th, 1979. The winds reached category six with sustained speeds of 306 Km/Hr or 190 Mi/Hr. Now a hypercane requires a sustained wind speed of 800 Km/Hr or 500 Mi/Hr. At its height, Typhoon Tip measured some 2,200 Km or 1,380 Mi. across, making it half the size of the continental US. The atmospheric pressure in the eye dropped to 870 millibar. The eye temperature was measured at 30 degrees C or 86 degrees F; much hotter than the ocean. Typhoon Tip had an unusual double helix structure in its makeup, suggesting storm within a storm. Typhoon Tip was the strongest storm ever recorded in contemporary times since records of such events were recorded. Not even Katrina and Gilbert measured up to this, despite their destructive force.

By comparison, a hypercane must arise in the context of an ocean that has heated to 50 degrees C or 122 degree F. This is 15 degrees C hotter than ever recorded on the oceans. What would cause such a rise in temperature? A super volcano exploding in the Ocean, an asteroid or comet impacting in the ocean, or sufficient global warming will do it. The storm born of such conditions would be the size of the continental US and Canada. The eye alone would measure some 300 Km or 190 Mi across and the storm surge would be 18 meter or nearly 60 feet. The Malaysian Tsunami of Dec. 24, 2004 was not as great. The hypercane's cloud bank would tower 30 Km or 19 Mi into the stratosphere and damage the ozone layer.

For conditions that would create a hypercane, the Earth will have to heat enough to drive up ocean surface temperatures to 50 degrees C. This would require sufficient greenhouse gasses and time to accomplish. At the present time, global dimming reduces incoming sunlight from 4 to 14 percent depending on one's location. This masks global warming to a great extent. If the dimming dusts were removed for some reason, global temperatures at the equator and during the summer would rise dramatically. This would also allow the ocean surfaces to heat to the point of generating more powerful storms than currently occur. Typhoon Tip was a warning, having occurred at a time just after one of the greatest solar maximum periods on record. Hypercanes are theoretically thought to form very quickly and tower over the ocean. The form from the center out instead of by accretion. Records tell us that carbon dioxide was rising at that time too, continuing a trend that began to emerge in the 1840s. Today, carbon dioxide levels are much higher and accelerating, but the trend is masked by global dimming.

What we need to know about extreme weather

Extreme Weather: A Guide and Record Book (Revised and Updated)
Extreme Weather: A Guide and Record Book (Revised and Updated)

Extreme weather comes in all types, from intense blizzards, tornadoes, hurricanes, giant hail, super cells and other extreme weather. Historical record storms are detailed and what havoc they wrecked in their passing. The book has been updated to include recent record storms.


Typically, carbon dioxide is heavier than oxygen and nitrogen alone, so it tends to remain in the lower atmosphere. Carbon dioxide also traps heat and keeps it close to the earth. It does not matter if the heat comes from the earth, human activity, or from the sun, the end result is the same. This means that upper regions will chill as a result. The increasing amount and weight of greenhouse gasses and increasingly extreme temperatures by altitude work to create a widening energy gradient. The greater the energy difference there is between extremes, the more violent is the exchange as these extremes move toward balance. Extreme cold above and extreme heat below cannot remain forever separated, so conditions are set for more violent exchanges. We know that in normal conditions, cold air sinks and hot air rises. You can set up an experiment to demonstrate this and it is done routinely with hot air balloons. We already know of record setting warmth, hurricanes, flooding, drought and the like for the decade of the 90’s and now for the new century. Interestingly, as warm areas get warmer, cold areas are getting colder. There are those strong lobby and pressure groups that deny all of this, but speak to the elders and relate to your own experience and you’ll find that something is definitely different about the current period. By projection, the greater the extremes become, the more violent will be the balancing, resulting in freak weather and the potential of the super-storm like the hypercane. When conditions are right, any phenomenon will be born.

Recently, we witnessed the destruction of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in late Aug. early Sept. of 2005. According to some, this was the worst disaster in almost a century, surpassed only by the 1908 San Francisco earthquake. Weather patterns were directly affected by Katrina all the way to Western Canada from the Gulf of Mexico. This is the type of weather organization on a massive scale that hints at a hypercane. This organization almost made Katrina a super-storm. Pictures from space show a massive storm covering half the Gulf before it struck and wiped out New Orleans, destroying 160,000 homes and buildings, flooding 80 percent of the city and reportedly killing about 10,000.

One of the things Hurricane Katrina proved was just how thin the veneer of civilization is. During the flight from the disaster and the subsequent emergency follow up, it became clear just how real the color and class divide is. All the people left behind were black and/or poor. These folk took the brunt of the category 5 hurricane, many paying the ultimate price. After the storm, the whole region was reduced to stone-age conditions. There was no food, water and existing shelter battered into ruin. Even the big media acknowledged this. The people were left in a toxic flood of chemicals, excrement, oil and dead bodies. They took the brunt of post catastrophe disease such as cholera, dysentery, typhoid and other plagues. There are natural and man-made greenhouse gasses and these drive the complexity of the great weather cycles including the contemporary one. Typical natural gases are methane and carbon dioxide. Into this mix for the current era, mankind adds additional carbon dioxide, methane, Halon, chlorofluorocarbons, exotic gases and the like. These tend to hold onto heat. Some tend to rise, but most hug the lower atmosphere. From natural sources, methane comes from organic processes and from a frozen reserve at the bottom of oceans under high pressure. Can you imagine what the affected part of the world would be like after being deluged and blown flat by a hypercane? Virtually nothing will stand up to a 500 mile per hour wind.

The Earth has experienced super-storms within recorded history. David Keys in his book “Catastrophe” refers to accounts after the 535 AD Krakatoa volcanic catastrophe that led to crazy weather and a hundred years of upheaval and effects that precipitated for several centuries thereafter. There are accounts of extreme cold, horrific winds, wild, exceptionally violent electrical storms, tornadoes in regions where they normally don’t occur and super sized hail. In one instance, super sized hail routed a siege and battle in what is now France, killing and injuring many of the unprotected siege participants. The planned battle never occurred on the very day planned as a result, for on that very day, a super-storm broke out pummeling the participants with killing hail as David Keys States on page 142 of his book Catastrophe;

“The bubonic plague pandemic which impacted so heavily on France in the sixth century had, of course, originally been triggered by climatic disruption of the wild-rodent ecology of east Africa in the 530s. But the world-wide 530s climatic problems had also affected French history more directly. For in 536 as climatic chaos racked the world, the bizarre behavior of the weather actually succeeded in stopping a war and quite likely changing the course of French history. It might seem at first like a somewhat fanciful story, but there are similar accounts of giant hail stones from around the same time, all associated with the 530s climatic downturn, in Britain and in China.”

Numerous written accounts from observers and historians around the planet in the sixth century describe super-storm type conditions with devastating results. So can it happen today? You bet! The conditions are ripe for climate related catastrophes that could effectively route current civilization.


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    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 7 years ago

      Very interesting and a little chilling given I lived under the eye of Ike when it went by - a very strong educational hub thanks! Rated up :)

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      markbennis 7 years ago

      Thanks, I never heard of a hyper-cane before and this hub was very interesting to read, I couldn't imagine experiencing those kind of wind speeds and possible destruction scary stuff.