Tropical Cyclones Essay

Submitted By joel7966
Words: 1506
Pages: 7

In August 2005 Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast of the United States. Katrina caused over 200 billion in damages, took more than 1500 lives and displaced millions from their homes (Ahrens). Even though cyclones are not always as strong or cause as much damage as Katrina it is important that we study how tropical cyclones develop. We can study tropical cyclones to improve predictions and help us prepare for the next devastating storm. Scientists have built computer models that use physical laws and how they react with the earth’s atmosphere, land and water that can predict the path and strength of these storms (Landsea). Although tropical cyclones cause damage and take peoples lives they are still important because they help regulate temperature by taking heat near from the tropics and distributing it to places that need heat like the colder climates (Ahrens). Tropical cyclones develop by the equator and usually travel west gaining strength from warm oceans, sometimes causing billions in damages and hundreds to thousands of deaths, although tropical cyclones cannot be stopped with the help of scientist meteorologist and computer models tropical cyclones can be projected to help people better prepare and minimalize damages. Meteorological Causes/ Concepts A Tropical cyclone is a low-pressure system over tropical waters with thunderstorm activity and circular surface wind circulation (Ahrens). Hurricanes and typhoons are both cyclones. The difference is where they are found. Hurricanes are found in the Caribbean’s and Southeastern United States (Landsea). Typhoons are found in the Northwest Pacific and cyclones are found in the Indian Southeast Pacific such as Madagascar, Australia and India (Landsea). Cyclones have an “eye” which is a circular area in the center of the storm. In the eye there is light wind and no extreme weather. The “eye wall” surrounds the eye and is where the highest surface winds are located. The eye is made up air that is slowly sinking and the eye wall has an upward flow due to updrafts and downdrafts (Ahrens). World Meteorologist Organization compiles a list of names for cyclones depending on the basin. We recycle the list of names every 6 years unless a storm is devastating to a coastline or it causes a lot of damage or casualties in which case we retire the name and never use it again (Ahrens). Atlantic Hurricanes are ranked using the Saffir-Simpson Scale ( The categories are 1-5 and start at 74 miles per hour (mph) and go beyond 157mph ( Category 1 hurricanes are minimal and have winds that range from 74mph- 95mph ( Category 2 hurricanes are moderate and have winds that range from 96mph- 110mph ( Category 3 hurricanes are extensive and have winds that range from 111mph- 129mph ( Category 4 hurricanes are extreme and have winds that range from 130mph- 156mph ( Category 5 hurricanes are catastrophic and have winds that go beyond 157mph ( Category 3, 4 and 5 hurricanes are considered intense hurricanes and cause 83% of damage in the United States even though they only account for 21% of the total tropical hurricanes that hit land (Landsea). The right side of the hurricane is said to be the strongest because the counterclockwise motion of the storm contributes to its swirling winds. Since 1970 China has been hit by the most tropical storms followed by the Philippines, Japan, Mexico and the United States in 5th (Landsea). Tropical Cyclones usually hit 7 areas in the world (Landsea). Labeled number one is the Atlantic basin. Labeled number 2 is the Northeast Pacific basin. Labeled number 3 is the Northwest Pacific basin. Labeled number 4 is the North Indian basin. Labeled number 5 is the Southwest Indian basin. Labeled number 6 is the Southeast Indian/Australian basin and labeled number 7 is the Australian/Southwest Pacific basin (see picture on next page.)