The Biggest Natural Phenomenon Explained on an Atomic Level

While many people seek immediate answers to questions about why major natural phenomena and disasters occur, in order to provide a succinct answer, a fundamental understanding of the world at its smallest levels is necessary for a succinct answer. Though a wild fire and a hurricane are seemingly unrelated in natural origin and in locale, the scope of damage is enough to cause victims to wonder what causes these events in the first place. A knowledge of basic particle science is very useful to explain any of these natural situations, as everything on earth is comprised of atoms.

First, one must understand that an atom is not the smallest particle in our universe. It is made up of many smaller particles, but for the present, knowing that a neutron is neutral, an electron is negative, and a proton is positive is all that we need. It is the number of these particles within an atom that determine what element it will become as we move up to the molecular level, and also how it will react to other elements with different ratios of positives and negatives. Any event in nature that is a change from normal conditions is always going to be related to heat (the movement of atoms). In a hurricane, the atoms in the molecules of various gases in warm, subtropical air initially begin interacting with atoms from the surface of the ocean. Heat wants to travel from place of greater movement to lesser movement, and the excited atoms within a molecule of water begin moving and interacting with molecules in the air (atoms attracting to atoms in the air of different charges), and water is evaporated.

Atoms in the air begin moving rapidly as the heat of the sun supplies energy to motivate them to seek out other molecules with less energy. This movement on the atomic level is what causes huge regions of air to begin to move and spin in the typical hurricane form.