Do you know exactly what a tropical cyclone is?

Many people are familiar to the word “Tropical Cyclone” because it heard in weather news when there is a typhoon, BUT the question is, they know exactly what is Tropical Cyclone? They know what it means when there is a Tropical Cyclone? Many of us did not know.
So, if you ask yourself, what is tropical cyclone? What will be your answer? Do you doubt on what you know or you did not know what it is?

In weather news, the weather reporters broadcast the result or reporting about the tropical cyclone, but, they did not explain further the meaning of tropical cyclone. They just only discuss about the weather and keep mentioning of the word Tropical Cyclone. Here are the facts about the tropical cyclone to further understand what it is.

Tropical Cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorm that produce heavy rain. Typically form over large bodies of relatively warm water. They derived their energy through the evaporation of water from the ocean surface, which ultimately recondenses into clouds and rain when moist air rises and cools to saturation.

The circular eye or centre of a tropical cyclone is an area characterized by light winds and often by clear skies. Eye diameters are typically 40 km but can range from under 10 km to over 100 km. The eye is surrounded by a dense ring of cloud about 16 km high known as the eye wall which marks the belt of strongest winds and heaviest rainfall.

Tropical cyclones derive their energy from the warm tropical oceans and do not form unless the sea-surface temperature is above 26.5°C, although once formed, they can persist over lower sea-surface temperatures. Tropical cyclones can persist for many days and may follow quite erratic paths. They usually dissipate over land or colder oceans.

How does the Tropical Cyclone form?
It all begins with what meteorologists call a “tropical disturbance”, or a group of thunderstorms over warm tropical waters. As low-level winds flow into the disturbance, they evaporate water from the ocean surface. This process transfers energy from the ocean into the atmosphere. When the winds arrive at the disturbance, they rise up and release that energy into the air as they form clouds and precipitation. This warms the air and makes it buoyant, almost like a hot air balloon, and encourages more warm or moist air to flow in from the outside.

Tropical disturbances such as this one are the precursors to tropical cyclones
As the air moves toward the center of the disturbance, it “curves” or “spirals”, rather than flowing in a straight line. This spiral effect comes from the rotation of the Earth – as air moves over large distances, the Earth moves underneath it, producing a spiral effect. Meteorologists call this the “Coriolis Effect”. The curved-band features that many of you see in the Cyclone Center images are curved because of this effect. For this reason, tropical cyclones cannot form near the Equator; the Coriolis Effect is too small there to provide the needed rotation.

If the atmospheric and ocean conditions remain favorable, the energy brought in by the incoming air accumulates in the center of the disturbance, leading to a drop in atmospheric pressure. This in turn increases the speed of the wind and the incoming energy, which then leads to even larger drops in pressure. Once the winds speeds reach a certain threshold, a tropical cyclone is born.

Interestingly, only about 7% of tropical disturbances form into tropical cyclones; the rest are destined to be absorbed into the warm tropical breezes, never to be named or remembered.

Where and when do tropical cyclones occur?
Tropical cyclones form between approximately 5° and 30° latitude and initially move westward (owing to easterly winds) and slightly towards the poles. Many tropical cyclones eventually drift far enough from the equator to move into areas dominated by westerly winds (found in the middle latitudes). These winds tend to reverse the direction of the tropical cyclone to an eastward path. As the tropical cyclone moves polewards it picks up forward speed and may reach 30 m.p.h. or more. An average tropical cyclone can travel about 300 to 400 miles a day, or about 3,000 miles before it dies out.

Effects of Tropical Cyclone
Tropical Cyclone has a two type of effects, the primary and the secondary effects. Primary effect of tropical cyclone includes high winds, torrential rain and storm surges at landfall. There may also be localized tornadoes and waterspouts. These are all physical effects. The secondary effect of tropical cyclone is very wide-ranging. It divided into social, economic and environmental effects.

Social effects of tropical storms
There are likely to be food and water shortages. As a result of extensive flooding, people may catch water-borne diseases. This may eventually lead to death. Communities are displaced from their homes, and may be broken up if the area is not restored. Many people are made homeless. People suffer from stress due to loss of possessions and housing.
There may be looting of properties – domestic and commercial. People may lose their jobs if they work in an industry that has been badly affected. If insurance premiums rise in the future, some people may not be able to afford them and will consequently not be financially protected against future storms. People might be stranded due to flooding that will cause trauma.

Economic effects of tropical storms
There are the obvious costs of repairing any damage caused. Insurance claims will be made, and this may cause the cost of insurance premiums to rise in the future. Whilst businesses are closed, earnings and profits will be lost. Crops may be damaged and exports lost. These may be a key source of income for the local economy. Oil prices may increase

Environmental effects of tropical storms (sometimes referred to as physical effects)
A huge amount of water is released in a tropical storm so there will be extensive flooding. There will be structural damage to buildings and they may have to be pulled down and rebuilt. This is very costly. Other buildings may have broken windows, chimneys etc. Roads and other infrastructure such as railways may be destroyed. This can lead to communication problems. Electricity lines might be blown down and, as a result, people could be without power supplies. Sensitive ecosystems may be destroyed and plant and animal habitats lost. Sea fish are often killed because of silting, and freshwater fish may be killed in storm surges. Fishing boats and other craft may be damaged. Crops and livestock may be damaged or destroyed. Mudslides become common because the soil is saturated. They will flow quickly down hillsides and may bury houses, crops and livestock.

Preparation when there is a Tropical Cyclone:

1. Have a supply of food that requires no cooking or refrigeration
2. Store drinking water
3. Have extra battery or charge your phones or gadgets.
4. Evacuate in safe areas
5. Be specifically alert to flooding since most tropical cyclone deaths result from
flooding
6. Make sure gas tanks are full
7. Have extra cash
8. Trim treetops and branches well clear of your home
9. Keep a list of emergency phone numbers on display.
10. Tune to your local radio/TV for further information and warnings.

These are the facts, tips, effects, etc. about the “Tropical Cyclone”. All of this will help you to understand what a tropical cyclone and make you aware. Those 10 preparation that include will help you to be prepared when a tropical cyclone come. When you question yourself again, what is tropical cyclone? You will be confident to answer, because you know to yourself that you have knowledge about this, on how it form and how it happened. Hope that will help this facts about “Tropical Cyclone”.

References:
http://blog.cyclonecenter.org/2012/10/10/how-do-tropical-cyclones-form/
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/tropicalcyclone/facts
http://worldlywise.pbworks.com/w/page/25349490/Unit%202%20Section%20C%20-%20Causes%20and%20effects%20of%20tropical%20storms%20and%20responses%20to%20them
http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/about/

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