A cyclone is one of the Earth’s most potent forces and the most destructive natural phenomena known to humanity. Its impact extends over a wide area carrying powerful winds and heavy rains, destroying properties and threatening peoples’ lives. Before we answer the question, “How are cyclones formed?”, let us first get to know this devastating force of the planet.
What is a Cyclone?
A cyclone refers to a large scale mass of air or spinning storm that rotates around a center of the low atmospheric center. This low-pressure center is referred to as the ‘eye’ of the storm.
In the Atlantic and eastern Pacific, cyclones are called hurricanes. It’s called typhoons in Southeast Asia, and cyclones in the Indian Ocean and western Pacific around Australia.
Types of Cyclones
The term ‘cyclone’ actually refers to different types of storms that occur in different places. Some occur over land while some over water. But one thing is sure; they all have spinning storms that rotate around a low-pressure center.
These are the most familiar of all because they usually occur over tropical ocean regions. Typhoons and hurricanes are types of tropical cyclones but are called differently. Hurricanes can be found in the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, while typhoons are frequent in the Northwest Pacific. Tropical cyclones usually occur in the South Pacific or the Indian Ocean.
Tropical cyclones also have different wind speeds – categories 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5. A category one cyclone is the weakest of all, with wind speeds of 74-95 mph. While a category five cyclone is hugely threatening and can cause significant damage, they have wind speeds of more than 155 mph!
These cyclones occur in cold regions like Siberia, Greenland, and Antarctica. Polar cyclones are usually more potent during the winter months.
Mesocyclone. Mesocyclones happen when a part of a thunderstorm cloud starts to spin and becomes a tornado. All Tornadoes come thunderstorm clouds. But not all thunderstorm clouds can make tornadoes.
How Are Cyclones Created?
A tropical cyclone only needs two ingredients: a cluster of thunderstorms and a warm body of water. This warm body of water under a developing storm evaporates into the air then condenses to form clouds. Heat is released throughout the process.
The rotation of the Earth, in combination with the heat energy, gets the cyclone spinning and propels it forward. While the cyclone looks savage from the outside, its low-pressure center, commonly known as the eye, is deceptively calm. This belies the danger of the dense wall of cloud that surrounds it, which is the deadliest part of a cyclone.
This is just like heating water in a covered pot. Some of the water evaporates as the temperature of the water in the pot rises. This makes the interior of the pot cloudy, leading some water to condense on the surface of the lid. As the lid collects enough moisture, it forms water droplets. It falls back to the water as it becomes more prominent and more massive.
In a nutshell, warm water evaporates rise to the atmosphere to form clouds. When these clouds become bulky, it falls back to the Earth’s surface as rain.
What is the Eye of the Storm Like?
The eye of a cyclone has an intense pressure and very light winds, which usually gives a false sense of security. It gives out an eerie sensation when a 200-kilometer per hour hurricanes suddenly become calm. The winds then return to being just as strong as the cyclone continues to move over.
Causes and Effects of Cyclones
Aside from creating havoc, destroying properties, and taking lives, here are some notable effects of cyclones in points.
- Tropical cyclones often trigger heavy rainfalls and devastating landslides. They can cause severe damage to towns, villages, and even to highly-urbanized cities. Also, these cyclones often destroy coastal industries, such as shipyards and oil wells.
- When these hurricanes blow far inland, human settlements are causing a lot of devastation.
- Cyclones also affect the crop industry. They trigger a lot of crop damages and destroy a vast area of forests.
- They are disturbing the entire civic lives, mainly when they kill electricity and telephone lines.
- Torrential rains often accompany these cyclones, which trigger flooding.
- Not only do they cause a lot of damage to assets, but also to people’s lives. Civic installations are being dismantled.
Cyclones are natural calamities that strike as violent storms and severe weather conditions, caused by disturbances in the atmosphere. They lead to significant and terrible devastations.
The effect of a cyclone is terrible, as it destroys everything in its wake. People are left homeless and helpless. Humans have always feared it, and even though there are precautions, the damages cannot be prevented.
We hope that we got to answer your question on “how are cyclones formed.” Now that you have a deeper understanding, don’t be shy to share this knowledge with family and friends! Find out more about natural disasters.