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Author(s) : Andy Byatt
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Hurricanes are the strongest storms on earth.
Many begin as harmless breezes from Northern Africa; inoffensive winds that gradually move westwards over the tropical Atlantic Ocean, gathering energy from the warm seawater, building in strength and gradually forming the unmistakable spiral of extreme winds and thunderstorms that characterize hurricanes.
Shot entirely in 3D, this three-part series has been produced over a three-year period, with crews standing in the path of hurricane landfalls, such as Sandy and Isaac, to witness the devastation wreaked by one of the most powerful forces on earth.
PREDICTING THE UNPREDICTABLE
Episode one explores the search for Hurricane scientists “holy grail” seeking to understand the dangerous increases in storm power called rapid intensification. As the story develops we explore what hurricanes are, how they are formed and how the specialists try to predict whether the next storm will blow over or blow the roof off. Featuring interviews with some of the world’s leading hurricane experts, this episode looks at the latest theories and the most advanced technologies that are being used to hone the forecasts. While a fearless team of Hurricane Hunter pilots flies into the eye of each approaching storm, their data is supplemented by information from satellites, drones and even fish!
SHAPING THE WILDERNESS
While humans try to predict the future, the natural world has evolved over millions of years to deal with the strongest storms on earth as and when they arrive. Some run; others hide. This episode looks at varying strategies used by plants and animals that live in the hurricane zone and how they cope with the annual onslaught. From robust crocodiles, to fragile flamingos and delicate tropical shrimp; many species have found ingenious ways of dealing with the threat of hurricanes. The film reveals that hurricanes can by turn be both beneficial and harmful to individuals but, ultimately, at the level of populations, the deadly power of these storms provides new opportunities for life.
WINDS OF CHANGE
For millennia, hurricanes have threatened the Eastern USA, the Caribbean and parts of Latin America. But changes to global climate have serious consequences for the future: rising sea-levels mean that storm surge from hurricanes will impact ever further inland. Specialists believe that hurricanes will become less frequent but increasingly powerful. Nobody knows when a major Category 5 hurricane will strike next, so the desire to live ever closer to the beach puts more and more people on a collision course with the greatest storm on earth. With coastal habitats and natural defences such as coral reefs, irretrievably damaged, the future appears bleak. Insight and interviews from leading experts such as Nobel Prize-winning climatologist, Jean-Pascal Van Ypersele, help the film explore whether we are prepared for the super storm of the 22nd Century.
Director biographies :
Andy Byatt is a series producer and director whose fascination with the natural world enabled an award-winning film career, including 20 years working for the BBC Natural History Unit. Specialising in the underwater realm, he was a key player in the BBC’s landmarks “The Blue Planet” and “Planet Earth”. He left the BBC in 2007 to take his young family sailing across the Caribbean, on a two-year voyage so that they could discover the magic of the ocean for themselves. Since 2009 Andy has been specialising in 3D feature and television production through his company Amberjack Films.
John Jackson is a Director DOP who studied at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara before working in LA with the renowned Jacque Yves Cousteau or “Captain Planet” as he was then known. He stayed with Captain Cousteau, working on the Calypso and his other boats for more than 12 years as a full time DOP/Director. He then naturally moved on to work with Discovery, the BBC and National Geographic; making many prize winning scientific, history and extreme adventure documentary films. He is presently co-directing with Andy Byatt the 3 x 52 minute series on Hurricanes for 3D Net and Arte.