What are Cyclones and what are its types? Check out in detail here!

Safalta Expert Published by: Harshita Pathak Updated Mon, 09 May 2022 04:33 PM IST

Highlights

A cyclone is a phenomenon that happens when high-speed winds travel in a circular direction around a low-pressure centre. In this article, we have explained what is a cyclone and what are its types in detail.

A cyclone is a phenomenon that happens when high-speed winds travel in a circular direction around a low-pressure centre. Cyclones come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and forms, depending on their magnitude, nature, and location. Tornadoes or Hurricanes are the scientific names for these swirling winds, and this topic is frequently included not only in schools but also in competitive exams. The science behind cyclones will help you understand why, where and how this weather phenomenon exists. In this article, we have explained what is a cyclone and what are its types in detail. You may also read  Most Important List of Lists for Government Exams


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What is a Cyclone?

In meteorology, the term cyclone is defined as "A system of winds that are rotating inwards to an area of low barometric pressure, such that in the Northern Hemisphere it is anticlockwise and in the Southern Hemisphere it is clockwise circulation."

Cyclones are generated when a massive quantity of energy is transferred from the ocean to the atmosphere. According to surveys, 70 to 90 cyclonic systems are produced each year throughout the world. The Coriolis force spirals the surface winds towards the low-pressure system. Because the Coriolis force is minimal between 5 degrees north and 5 degrees south, cyclonic systems do not develop in the equatorial regions.
 

What are the Types of Cyclones?

There are 4 types of cyclones and they are:

  • Tropical cyclone
  • Polar cyclone
  • Mesocyclone
  • Extratropical cyclone
 

Tropical Cyclone 

A tropical cyclone is a spinning system that forms mostly from clouds and thunderstorms and originates in subtropical or tropical areas. This cyclone forms as the wind channels flow into a low-pressure disturbance. When flowing air condenses into clouds, surface water with a high temperature evaporates and releases energy. Tropical cyclones usually form between 5 and 30 degrees latitude. The surface water must be at least or about 80° F in all forms of cyclones. Tropical cyclones may be found in the Southwest Indian Ocean, Eastern Pacific, North Atlantic (including the Caribbean), North Indian Ocean, and Southern Pacific, among other places.
 

Types of Tropical Cyclones

  • Tropical Depression: A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 38 mph or less.
  • Tropical Storm: A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 39-73 mph.
  • Hurricane: A tropical cyclone with maximum winds greater than 74 mph.
  • Major Hurricane: A tropical cyclone with maximum winds greater than 111 mph. The hurricanes would be categories 3, 4 and 5 of the Saffir-Simpson scale

Polar Cyclone

In the Northern Hemisphere, polar cyclones are sometimes known as "Arctic hurricanes." Because of their energy sources, this is the case. The latent heat is released as cloud condensation when heat is transferred from water to air. Polar cyclones are difficult to anticipate since they originate swiftly and last less than 24 hours. They develop across the waters of the Arctic and Antarctic.

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Mesocyclones 


Mesocyclones are some of the most powerful tornadoes. Mesocyclones are just a vortex of air trapped between the convective storm and the ground. These tornadoes are frequently cyclonic and occur in supercells with updrafts. The Mesocyclone causes the creation of 'wall clouds,' which lead to the formation of a funnel cloud. When the funnel cloud hits the earth, it transforms into a tornado. Thousands of Mesocyclones occur each year, but only half of them are turned into cyclones.
 

Extratropical or Midlatitude Cyclones

Midlatitude or extratropical cyclones are cyclonic storms that occur near frontal boundaries in the middle latitudes. Unlike their tropical cousins, these cyclones are created when there are severe temperature differences between the connecting air masses. Midlatitude cyclones are typically bigger than hurricanes, despite having mild winds. A prominent example of this cyclone is the 'nor' easters' that frequently occur on the American east coast in the winter.

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How are Cyclones Formed?

Cyclones arise in locations with low atmospheric pressure. The geography, severity, and frequency of the cyclone determine the susceptibility of the area where it impacts.

There are 6 factors that can be held responsible for the formation of the cyclone:
  • Ample amount of warm temperature at the surface of the sea.
  • Instability in the atmosphere.
  • How does the Coriolis force is impacting the area so that low pressure can be created
  • When the humidity is high in the lower to middle levels of the troposphere.
  • Disturbance in the pre-existing low-level area.
  • When the vertical wind shear is low.
Following are the ways the cyclone is formed:
  • When warm, wet air moves upward above the ocean, a cyclone forms. As this air rises, a low-pressure region forms below.
  • The low-pressure zone has now been filled by high-pressure air from the surroundings. As the next wave of chilly air moves higher, it becomes warm and damp above the ocean. This results in the creation of a low-pressure region once more. The cycle goes on.
  • Clouds arise in the air as a result of this ongoing cycle. As the water from the ocean evaporates, more clouds develop.
  • The storm system forms as a result of this. An eye forms in the centre of the storm system as it rotates faster. The quiet and clear region of the storm is known as the eye. The air pressure in the storm's eye is extremely low.
  • Cyclones are classified into distinct classes based on the strength of the winds they create.

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Other Names of Cyclone

The cyclone is known to have different names in different regions of the world, and they are:
 
Region Other names for cyclone
Caribbean sea Hurricanes
China sea Typhoons
Indian ocean Tropical cyclones
Japan Taifu
Northern Australia Wily willies
Philippines Baguio
USA Tornadoes


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Name the states that were affected by the Amphan cyclone in India.

West Bengal and Odisha were affected by the Amphann cyclone in India.

Name a few cyclone warning systems in India.

Cyclone Warning Centres, Cyclone Warning Centre and National Cyclone Warning Centre are a few cyclone warning systems in India.

Name the states that were affected by the Nisarga cyclone in India.

Goa and Maharashtra are the states that were affected by the Nisarga cyclone in India.

Which is the strongest cyclone in India?

The 1970 Bhola cyclone is considered to be the strongest cyclone in India.

Name the states of India that are impacted by the tropical cyclones.

Every year close to 2-4 tropical cyclones impact different states of India. The most affected region is the east coast of India which includes Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and West Bengal.

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