Cyclone vs. Hurricane

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Cyclone and Hurricane is that the Cyclone is a large scale air mass that rotates around a strong center of low pressure and Hurricane is a rapidly rotating storm system

  • Cyclone

    In meteorology, a cyclone is a large scale air mass that rotates around a strong center of low atmospheric pressure. Cyclones are characterized by inward spiraling winds that rotate about a zone of low pressure. The largest low-pressure systems are polar vortices and extratropical cyclones of the largest scale (the synoptic scale). Warm-core cyclones such as tropical cyclones and subtropical cyclones also lie within the synoptic scale. Mesocyclones, tornadoes and dust devils lie within smaller mesoscale. Upper level cyclones can exist without the presence of a surface low, and can pinch off from the base of the tropical upper tropospheric trough during the summer months in the Northern Hemisphere. Cyclones have also been seen on extraterrestrial planets, such as Mars and Neptune. Cyclogenesis is the process of cyclone formation and intensification. Extratropical cyclones begin as waves in large regions of enhanced mid-latitude temperature contrasts called baroclinic zones. These zones contract and form weather fronts as the cyclonic circulation closes and intensifies. Later in their life cycle, extratropical cyclones occlude as cold air masses undercut the warmer air and become cold core systems. A cyclone’s track is guided over the course of its 2 to 6 day life cycle by the steering flow of the subtropical jet stream.

    Weather fronts mark the boundary between two masses of air of different temperature, humidity, and densities, and are associated with the most prominent meteorological phenomena. Strong cold fronts typically feature narrow bands of thunderstorms and severe weather, and may on occasion be preceded by squall lines or dry lines. Such fronts form west of the circulation center and generally move from west to east; warm fronts form east of the cyclone center and are usually preceded by stratiform precipitation and fog. Warm fronts move poleward ahead of the cyclone path. Occluded fronts form late in the cyclone life cycle near the center of the cyclone and often wrap around the storm center.

    Tropical cyclogenesis describes the process of development of tropical cyclones. Tropical cyclones form due to latent heat driven by significant thunderstorm activity, and are warm core. Cyclones can transition between extratropical, subtropical, and tropical phases. Mesocyclones form as warm core cyclones over land, and can lead to tornado formation. Waterspouts can also form from mesocyclones, but more often develop from environments of high instability and low vertical wind shear. In the Atlantic and the northeastern Pacific oceans, a tropical cyclone is generally referred to as a hurricane (from the name of the ancient Central American deity of wind, Huracan), in the Indian and south Pacific oceans it is called a cyclone, and in the northwestern Pacific it is called a typhoon.

    The growth of instability in the vortices is not universal. For example, the size, intensity, moist-convection, surface evaporation, the value of potential temperature at each potential height can affect the nonlinear evolution of a vortex.

  • Hurricane

    A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain. Depending on its location and strength, a tropical cyclone is referred to by different names, including hurricane (), typhoon (), tropical storm, cyclonic storm, tropical depression, and simply cyclone. A hurricane is a tropical cyclone that occurs in the Atlantic Ocean and northeastern Pacific Ocean, and a typhoon occurs in the northwestern Pacific Ocean; while in the south Pacific or Indian Ocean, comparable storms are referred to simply as “tropical cyclones” or “severe cyclonic storms”.”Tropical” refers to the geographical origin of these systems, which form almost exclusively over tropical seas. “Cyclone” refers to their winds moving in a circle, whirling round their central clear eye, with their winds blowing counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and blowing clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. The opposite direction of circulation is due to the Coriolis effect. Tropical cyclones typically form over large bodies of relatively warm water. They derive 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. This energy source differs from that of mid-latitude cyclonic storms, such as nor’easters and European windstorms, which are fueled primarily by horizontal temperature contrasts. Tropical cyclones are typically between 100 and 2,000 km (62 and 1,243 mi) in diameter.

    The strong rotating winds of a tropical cyclone are a result of the conservation of angular momentum imparted by the Earth’s rotation as air flows inwards toward the axis of rotation. As a result, they rarely form within 5° of the equator. Tropical cyclones are almost unknown in the South Atlantic due to a consistently strong wind shear and a weak Intertropical Convergence Zone. Also, the African easterly jet and areas of atmospheric instability which gives rise to cyclones in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, along with the Asian monsoon and Western Pacific Warm Pool, are features of the Northern Hemisphere and Australia.

    Coastal regions are particularly vulnerable to the impact of a tropical cyclone, compared to inland regions. The primary energy source for these storms is warm ocean waters, therefore these forms are typically strongest when over or near water, and weaken quite rapidly over land. Coastal damage may be caused by strong winds and rain, high waves (due to winds), storm surges (due to severe pressure changes), and the potential of spawning tornadoes. Tropical cyclones also draw in air from a large area—which can be a vast area for the most severe cyclones—and concentrate the precipitation of the water content in that air (made up from atmospheric moisture and moisture evaporated from water) into a much smaller area. This continual replacement of moisture-bearing air by new moisture-bearing air after its moisture has fallen as rain, may cause extremely heavy rain and river flooding up to 40 kilometres (25 mi) from the coastline, far beyond the amount of water that the local atmosphere holds at any one time.

    Though their effects on human populations are often devastating, tropical cyclones can relieve drought conditions. They also carry heat energy away from the tropics and transport it toward temperate latitudes, which may play an important role in modulating regional and global climate.

  • Cyclone (noun)

    A system of winds rotating around a center of low atmospheric pressure.

  • Cyclone (noun)

    A low pressure system.

  • Cyclone (noun)

    The more or less violent, small-scale circulations such as tornadoes, waterspouts, and dust devils.

  • Cyclone (noun)

    A strong wind.

  • Cyclone (noun)

    A South Pacific and Indian Ocean weather phenomenon that results in wind speeds of around 150 to 200 km/h.

  • Cyclone (noun)

    A cyclone separator; the cylindrical vortex tube within such a separator

  • Hurricane (noun)

    A severe Caribbean Sea, Pacific off the west coast of Mexico, with winds of 119 km/h (74 miles per hour) or greater accompanied by rain, lightning, and thunder that sometimes moves into temperate latitudes.

  • Hurricane (noun)

    a wind scale for quite strong wind, stronger than a storm

  • Hurricane (noun)

    “full—triple-full—full” – an acrobatic maneuver consisting of three flips and five twists, with one twist on the first flip, three twists on the second flip, one twist on the third flip

  • Cyclone (noun)

    a system of winds rotating inwards to an area of low barometric pressure, with an anticlockwise (northern hemisphere) or clockwise (southern hemisphere) circulation; a depression.

  • Cyclone (noun)

    another term for tropical storm

Oxford Dictionary

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