How does the water cycle transfer energy that creates monster storms?
This is an interesting question because we seldom think that water is, indeed, the fuel of our weather. If there was no water on the surface of the earth, our weather would be much kinder, very light breeze as warm air moves up and cold one moves down. The thing is: Water needs to give away heat energy when going from gas to liquid (condense) or liquid to solid (freeze). The opposite is also true, it takes heat energy when going from solid to liquid (melt) and liquid to gas (evaporate). The latter is the reason the evaporation of our sweat cools down our skin! So, as warm and moist air rises, it does it first at the so-called dry adiabatic lapse rate, which is roughly one degree Celsius per 100 meters. But as it reaches dew point temperature and condensation occurs, it cools down with altitude to only half a degree Celsius per 100 meters! And that is the energy that keeps it rising, thus lowering even deeper the low pressure from the convection. Sometimes, the air mass is said to be un