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Hurricane Names

October 4, 2005

One listener asks: How do hurricanes get their names?


Who names hurricanes? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Hurricanes have been on everyone’s mind, which is probably why James Benford of Sierra Vista, Arizona, called to ask how hurricanes get their names.

Meteorologist Greg Holland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research tells us that the World Meteorological Organization assigns lists of culturally appropriate names to each region, like Nate in North America and Nari in Asia. The lists repeat, but the names of very destructive hurricanes are retired. Holland says hurricanes have increased in intensity over the past 30 years, which will likely lead to more turnover in the lists,

GREG HOLLAND (National Center for Atmospheric Research):
Because there will be more of those intense cyclones affecting people and the names will be retired more often.

Call us at 1-800-why-isit with your science question. If we use it on the air, you’ll get a Science Update mug. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.