Tsunami vs. Cyclone

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Tsunami and Cyclone is that the Tsunami is a series of water waves caused by the displacement of a large volume of a body of water and Cyclone is a large scale air mass that rotates around a strong center of low pressure

  • Tsunami

    A tsunami (from Japanese: 津波, lit. ‘harbour wave’;

    English pronunciation: soo-NAH-mee or ) or tidal wave,, also known as a seismic sea wave, is a series of waves in a water body caused by the displacement of a large volume of water, generally in an ocean or a large lake. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other underwater explosions (including detonations, landslides, glacier calvings, meteorite impacts and other disturbances) above or below water all have the potential to generate a tsunami. Unlike normal ocean waves, which are generated by wind, or tides, which are generated by the gravitational pull of the Moon and the Sun, a tsunami is generated by the displacement of water.

    Tsunami waves do not resemble normal undersea currents or sea waves because their wavelength is far longer. Rather than appearing as a breaking wave, a tsunami may instead initially resemble a rapidly rising tide. For this reason, it is often referred to as a “tidal wave”, although this usage is not favoured by the scientific community because it might give the false impression of a causal relationship between tides and tsunamis. Tsunamis generally consist of a series of waves, with periods ranging from minutes to hours, arriving in a so-called “internal wave train”. Wave heights of tens of metres can be generated by large events. Although the impact of tsunamis is limited to coastal areas, their destructive power can be enormous, and they can affect entire ocean basins. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was among the deadliest natural disasters in human history, with at least 230,000 people killed or missing in 14 countries bordering the Indian Ocean.

    The Ancient Greek historian Thucydides suggested in his 5th century BC History of the Peloponnesian War that tsunamis were related to submarine earthquakes, but the understanding of tsunamis remained slim until the 20th century and much remains unknown. Major areas of current research include determining why some large earthquakes do not generate tsunamis while other smaller ones do; accurately forecasting the passage of tsunamis across the oceans; and forecasting how tsunami waves interact with shorelines.

  • 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.

  • Tsunami (noun)

    A very large and destructive wave, generally caused by a tremendous disturbance in the ocean, such as an undersea earthquake or volcanic eruption. Tsunami are usually a series of waves, or wave train.

  • Tsunami (noun)

    A large and generally unstoppable surge.

  • 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

  • Tsunami (noun)

    a long, high sea wave caused by an earthquake or other disturbance

    “the loss of human lives from this latest tsunami is staggering”

  • Tsunami (noun)

    an arrival or occurrence of something in overwhelming quantities or amounts

    “a tsunami of data pours into the CNBC newsroom every minute of every trading day”

  • 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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