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Difference Between Cyclone and Hurricane for JEE Main 2024

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Last updated date: 28th May 2024
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What is Cyclone and Hurricane: Introduction

To differentiate between cyclone and hurricane: Cyclones and hurricanes are large-scale atmospheric phenomena characterized by rotating systems of low pressure. These weather systems are driven by the principles of fluid dynamics and thermodynamics. Cyclones and hurricanes form over warm ocean waters when the temperature gradient between the surface and the upper atmosphere is conducive to atmospheric instability. As warm, moist air rises, it creates an area of low pressure, leading to the formation of a rotating system. The conservation of angular momentum causes the system to develop a spiral pattern, with winds rotating counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. Read further for more detail. 


Category:

JEE Main Difference Between

Content-Type:

Text, Images, Videos and PDF

Exam:

JEE Main

Topic Name:

Difference Between Cyclone and Hurricane

Academic Session:

2024

Medium:

English Medium

Subject:

Physics

Available Material:

Chapter-wise Difference Between Topics


Defining Cyclone 

A cyclone refers to a large-scale atmospheric system characterized by a region of low pressure. Cyclones are driven by the principles of fluid dynamics and thermodynamics. They typically form over warm ocean waters when there is a significant temperature difference between the surface and the upper atmosphere, leading to atmospheric instability. As warm, moist air rises, it creates a region of low pressure, resulting in the formation of a rotating system. The Coriolis effect, caused by Earth's rotation, influences the rotation of the cyclone, with winds circulating counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. Cyclones can have a significant impact on weather patterns, bringing strong winds, heavy rainfall, and potential hazards such as storm surges. The characteristics of the cyclone are: 


  • Low-Pressure System: Cyclones are characterized by a region of low atmospheric pressure at the center. The air pressure decreases towards the center of the storm, creating a swirling motion.

  • Rotating Winds: Cyclones have a well-defined rotation of winds around the center, known as the eye. In the Northern Hemisphere, the winds rotate counterclockwise, while in the Southern Hemisphere, they rotate clockwise.

  • Eye and Eyewall: Cyclones have a calm and clear area at the center called the eye, surrounded by the eyewall, which is a ring of intense thunderstorms with the highest wind speeds and heaviest rainfall.

  • Strong Winds: Cyclones generate powerful winds, with sustained speeds exceeding 74 miles per hour (119 kilometers per hour). These winds can cause significant damage to infrastructure and vegetation.

  • Heavy Rainfall: Cyclones produce heavy rainfall due to the intense thunderstorms within the eyewall. The combination of strong winds and heavy rain often leads to flooding, especially in coastal areas.

  • Storm Surge: Cyclones are associated with storm surges, which are elevated water levels caused by strong winds and low pressure. Storm surges can result in coastal inundation and pose a significant threat to coastal communities.


Defining Hurricane

A hurricane is a powerful and large-scale tropical cyclone characterized by intense rotating winds and organized thunderstorms. Hurricanes, also known as tropical cyclones, form over warm ocean waters and are driven by the principles of fluid dynamics and thermodynamics. They typically develop in the Atlantic Ocean and northeastern Pacific Ocean. Hurricanes have a well-defined eye at the center, surrounded by an eyewall containing the most intense winds and heavy rainfall. These storms can have sustained wind speeds of at least 74 miles per hour (119 kilometers per hour). The characteristics of the hurricane are:


  • Low-Pressure System: Hurricanes are centered around a region of low atmospheric pressure. The central pressure can be significantly lower than the surrounding areas.

  • Rotating Winds: Hurricanes exhibit a well-defined rotation of winds around the eye. In the Northern Hemisphere, the winds circulate counterclockwise, while in the Southern Hemisphere, they rotate clockwise.

  • Eye and Eyewall: The eye of a hurricane is a relatively calm and clear area at its center, surrounded by the eyewall. The eyewall is a ring of intense thunderstorms, where the highest wind speeds and heaviest rainfall are observed.

  • Sustained Winds: Hurricanes are characterized by sustained winds of at least 74 miles per hour (119 kilometers per hour) or more. These powerful winds can cause severe damage to infrastructure and vegetation.

  • Heavy Rainfall: Hurricanes produce substantial amounts of rainfall due to the extensive thunderstorms within the eyewall. This heavy precipitation can result in flooding, both from the rainfall itself and the storm surge.

  • Storm Surge: One of the most significant hazards of hurricanes is the storm surge. As the hurricane makes landfall, the low pressure and strong winds push a mound of water onto the coast, leading to coastal inundation and widespread damage.


Cyclone and Hurricane Difference

S.No

Category 

Cyclone 

Hurricane

1

Definition

Large-scale atmospheric system

Intense tropical cyclone

2

Naming Convention

Cyclone, typhoon, or tropical cyclone

Hurricane

3

Formation

Indian Ocean and southwestern Pacific Ocean

Atlantic Ocean and Northeastern Pacific Ocean

4

Sustained Winds

At least 74 mph (119 km/h)

At least 74 mph (119 km/h)

5

Basis

Geographic region

Geographic region

6

Primary Region

Indian Ocean and southwestern Pacific

Atlantic Ocean and northeastern Pacific


It's important to note that while cyclones refer to these systems in the Indian Ocean and southwestern Pacific Ocean, hurricanes are the term used for similar systems in the Atlantic Ocean and the northeastern Pacific Ocean. These terms are region-specific but essentially represent the same type of intense tropical cyclone characterized by powerful winds and organized thunderstorms.


Summary 

Cyclones and hurricanes are both powerful tropical weather systems characterized by strong winds and intense low-pressure centers. Cyclone is a general term for a rotating low-pressure system, while a hurricane is a specific type of cyclone that forms over warm ocean waters with specific wind speed criteria. The terminology and regional associations may vary, but both cyclones and hurricanes represent intense tropical weather phenomena. 

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FAQs on Difference Between Cyclone and Hurricane for JEE Main 2024

1. How do cyclones and hurricanes form?

Cyclones and hurricanes form over warm ocean waters when specific conditions are met. Warm ocean waters provide the necessary energy and moisture. As the warm air rises, it creates an area of low pressure at the surface. Surrounding air rushes in to fill the void, leading to the formation of a rotating system. The Coriolis effect, caused by Earth's rotation, influences the rotation of the storm. Thunderstorms develop around the center, creating a well-defined eyewall. As the system continues to strengthen, it can evolve into a cyclone or hurricane with intense rotating winds and organized thunderstorms. 

2. What are the key factors that contribute to the development and intensification of cyclones and hurricanes?

The key factors that contribute to the development and intensification of cyclones and hurricanes include warm ocean waters with temperatures above 26.5 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit), high humidity for moisture supply, low wind shear to maintain the structure, and a pre-existing disturbance or disturbance trigger, such as a tropical wave or a low-pressure system. These factors provide the necessary energy, moisture, and favorable atmospheric conditions for the formation and strengthening of cyclones and hurricanes.

3. What is the eye of a cyclone or hurricane?

The eye of a cyclone or hurricane is a distinct feature at the center of the storm. It is a region of relative calm and low atmospheric pressure. Within the eye, the weather conditions are often tranquil, with light winds and even patches of clear skies. The eye is typically circular or elliptical in shape and can range in size from a few kilometers to several tens of kilometers in diameter. It is surrounded by the eyewall, which is a ring of intense thunderstorms that produces the strongest winds and heaviest rainfall. 

4. How long do cyclones and hurricanes typically last?

The duration of cyclones and hurricanes varies depending on their size, intensity, and environmental conditions. On average, these storms can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. Some weaker storms may dissipate relatively quickly, while more intense and long-lived hurricanes can persist for several weeks. The lifespan of a cyclone or hurricane is influenced by factors such as interactions with land, upper-level atmospheric conditions, and the availability of warm ocean waters.

5. What are the hazards associated with cyclones and hurricanes?

The primary hazards include powerful winds that can cause extensive damage to structures and infrastructure, heavy rainfall leading to flooding, storm surges that can inundate coastal areas, and the potential for tornadoes within the storm system. These hazards can result in loss of life, displacement of populations, destruction of property, disruption of essential services, and environmental damage.