Q:

How do cyclones happen?

A:

Quick Answer

Tropical cyclones form when ambient atmospheric conditions are ripe for storm development, which includes warm ocean waters, moist mid-tropospheric layers, proximity to the equator and the presence of a pre-existing atmospheric disturbance. Humidity, adequate ocean water temperatures and strong winds all help to make cyclones form, but these elements must converge to allow storms to take shape. After forming, cyclones develop an organized inner core, which is surrounded by a circular mass that spins.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

One of the key elements to the formation of cyclones is the right temperature of surrounding waters. Water temperatures must be at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit for cyclones to take shape, and that temperature must usually remain constant 150 feet below the surface of the water. In addition to warm ocean waters, cyclones need ideal atmospheric conditions from the skies above. Atmospheres must cool quickly and be slightly unstable, which allows for the formation of thunderstorms. Cyclones cannot form without sufficient amounts of moisture in the mid-tropospheric layer, as moisture is essential for the formation of thunderstorms.

Cyclones must also be situated proximately to the equator, with a distance no greater than 300 miles from the equator line. Within this area, the Coriolis force can take effect by allowing wind balance to occur that, in turn, helps cyclones maintain a low pressure.

Learn more about Storms
Sources:

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What causes thunderstorms?

    A:

    Thunderstorms form when the three required atmospheric conditions of sufficient moisture, unstable air and a lifting mechanism are present. In the United States, thunderstorms are most common in the spring and summer months when temperatures are relatively high.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do meteorologists predict tornadoes?

    A:

    Meteorologists forecast tornadoes through the measurement of temperature, air speed and pressure conditions to monitor atmospheric conditions, explains LiveScience. Meteorologists use data during inclement weather to predict the probability of a tornado, but they do not know with complete certainty when or where a tornado will occur.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do tropical storms form?

    A:

    A tropical storm forms when calm, warm ocean waters warm the air above the surface, creating a convection current. Over time, this current draws moisture and warmth into the upper levels of the atmosphere, creating the rotational engine that drives a tropical storm or hurricane. The longer a storm stays in areas of the ocean with favorable conditions, the stronger it will grow.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the difference between a cyclone and a hurricane?

    A:

    Typhoons, cyclones and hurricanes are all the same type of weather phenomenon; the only difference is the location of the storm, according to the National Ocean Service. In the Atlantic Ocean and northeast Pacific Ocean, the term "hurricane" is used. Cyclones occur in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans, while typhoons are in the northwest Pacific Ocean.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore