Tropical Cyclones Portal
A tropical cyclone is a storm system characterized by a large low-pressure center, a closed low-level circulation, and a spiral arrangement of numerous thunderstorms that produce strong winds and heavy rainfall. Tropical cyclones feed on the heat released when moist air rises, resulting in condensation of water vapor contained in the moist air. They are fuelled by a different heat mechanism than other cyclonic windstorms such as nor'easters, European windstorms, and polar lows, leading to their classification as 'warm core' storm systems. Tropical cyclones originate in the doldrums near the Equator, approximately 10 degrees away.
The term 'tropical' refers to both the geographic origin of these systems, which form almost exclusively in tropical regions of the globe, and their formation in maritime tropical air masses. The term 'cyclone' refers to such storms' cyclonic nature, with anticlockwise rotation in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise rotation in the Southern Hemisphere. Depending on its location and intensity, a tropical cyclone can be referred to by names such as 'hurricane', 'typhoon', 'tropical storm', 'cyclonic storm', 'tropical depression', or simply 'cyclone'.
- Pictured: Typhoon Tip
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, a tropical cyclone
is a storm system with a closed circulation around a centre of low pressure
, fueled by the heat released when moist air rises and condenses. The name underscores their origin in the tropics
and their cyclonic
nature. They are distinguished from other cyclonic storms such as nor'easters
and polar lows
by the heat mechanism that fuels them, which makes them "warm core" storm systems.
Depending on their strength and location, there are various terms by which tropical cyclones can be described, such as tropical depression, tropical storm, hurricane and typhoon.
Tropical cyclones can produce extremely high winds, tornadoes, torrential rain (leading to mudslides and flash floods), and drive storm surge onto coastal areas. Though the effects on populations and ships can be catastrophic, tropical cyclones have been known to relieve drought conditions. They carry heat away from the tropics, an important mechanism of the global atmospheric circulation that maintains equilibrium in the environment.
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This photograph shows the bowl-shaped eye of Typhoon Yuri in the western Pacific Ocean just west of the Northern Mariana Islands. The eye wall descends almost to the sea surface, a distance of nearly 45,000 feet (13 800 meters). In this case the eye is filled with clouds, but in many cases the sea surface can be seen through the eye. Yuri grew to super typhoon status, packing maximum sustained winds estimated at 165 miles per hour (270 km/h). The storm moved west toward the Philippines before turning northeast into the north Pacific Ocean, thus avoiding any major landmass.
Currently active tropical cyclones
- … that Hurricane Faith (pictured) was tracked until it was located 600 miles (965 km) from the North Pole?
Tropical cyclone anniversaries
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- Requests: Original-content tropical cyclone articles: 1935 Haiti hurricane, 1926 Havana-Bermuda Hurricane, Typhoon Bilis (2000), more
- Copyedit: Hurricane Elida (2002), Effects of Hurricane Dennis in Florida, Criticism of government response to Hurricane Katrina
- Wikify: Make sure tropical cyclone lists, such as List of Texas hurricanes, have storm articles properly linked
- Cleanup: Hurricane Rita, Hurricane Wilma, Tropical Storm Fay (2002)
- Expand: Indianola Hurricane of 1886, Typhoon Nina (1975), Typhoon Durian
- Stubs: 1931 Belize hurricane, History of tropical cyclone-spawned tornadoes, more...
- Update: Hurricane Stan and Tropical Depression Sixteen (2008)
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