As I’ve written before, hurricanes are natural heat engines. They transport surface heat to the upper atmosphere for dissipation to space. They do a splendid job of cooling the ocean surface over which they travel.
In the animation above from NASA SVS: As water vapor evaporates from the warm ocean surface, it is forced upward in the convective clouds that surround the eyewall and rainband regions of a storm. As the water vapor cools and condenses from a gas back to a liquid state, it releases latent heat. The release of latent heat warms the surrounding air, making it lighter and thus promoting more vigorous cloud development.
Hurricane Igor is another example. I’ve created an animation show what it has done to sea surface temperature after passage. Note there is a pause at the beginning and end of the animation. Note the annotations in the Atlantic.
I have a larger version of the animation here.
Here’s a close up view of the Atlantic off the USA east coast. The effect from Igor is evident.
At the center of the storm track, SST’s were dropped as much as 3°C
Here’s another animation: