Tropical and temperate cyclones



The atmospheric disturbances which involve a closed circulation about a low pressure centre,
anticlockwise in the northern atmosphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere are called
cyclones. They fall into the following two broad categories: (a) Extra-tropical or Temperate and (b) tropical cyclones.

(a) Temperate Cyclones
Temperate cyclones are formed along a front in mid-latitudes between 35° and 65° N and S. They blow from west to east and are more pronounced in winter season.Temperate cyclones are mainly observed in Atlantic Ocean and North West Europe . They are generally extensive having a thickness of 9 to 11 kilometers and with 1040-1920 km short and long diametres respectively. Each such cyclone alternates with a high pressure anticyclone. The weather associated with the cyclone is drizzling rain and of cloudy nature for number of days. The anticyclone weather is sunny, calm and of cold waves.
(b) Tropical Cyclones
Tropical cyclones are formed along the zone of confluence of north-east and south-east trade winds. This zone is known as the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Cyclones generally occur in Mexico, South-Western and North Pacific Ocean, North Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean. These cyclones differ from temperate cyclones in many ways. There are no clear warm and cold
fronts as temperature seldom differs in Inter Tropical Convergence Zone. They do not have well-defined pattern of winds and are energised by convectional currents within them. Generally, these are shallow depressions and the velocity of winds is weak. These are not accompanied by anticyclones. The arrangement of isobars is almost circular. These are not extensive and have the diametres of 160-640km. However, a few of them become very violent and cause destruction in the regions of their influence. They are called hurricanes in the Carribean Sea, typhoons in the China, Japan and phillipines,






 Evaporation and Condensation: dew, frost, fog, mist and cloud, rainfall types



Evaporation is the process of which water changes from its liquid state to gaseous form. This process takes place at all places, at all times and at all temperatures except at dew point or when the air is saturated. The rate of evaporation is affected by several factors. Important among them are as under:
(i) Accessibility of water bodies :-The rate of evaporation is higher over the oceans than on the continents.
(ii) Temperature :-when the temperature of an air is high, it is capable of holding more moisture in its body than at a low temperature. It is because of this that the rate of evaporation is more in summers than in winters. That is why wet clothes dry faster in summers than in winters.
(iii) Air moisture :-If the relative humidity of a sample of air is high, it is capable of holding less moisture. On the other hand if the relative humidity is less, it can take more moisture. Hence, the rate of evaporation will be high. Aridity or dryness of the air also increases the rate of evaporation. During rainy days, wet clothes take more time to dry owing to the high percentage of moisture content in the air, than on dry days.
(iv) Wind :-If there is no wind, the air which overlies a water surface will get saturated through evaporation. This evaporation will cease once saturation point is reached. However, if there is wind, it will blow that saturated or nearly saturated air away from the evaporating surface and replace it with air of lower humidity. This allows evaporation to continue as long as the wind keep blowing saturated air away and bring drier air.
(v) Cloud cover :-The cloud cover prevents solar radiation and thus influences the air temperatures at a place. This way, it indirectly controls the process of evaporation.


Condensation the process by which water vapor (gas) in the atmosphere turns into water (liquid state). It is the opposite of evaporation. This stage is very important because it is the cloud formation stage. Cool temperatures are essential for condensation to happen, because as long as the temperature in the atmosphere is high, it can hold the water vapor and delay condensation.

When a gas is cooled sufficiently or, in many cases, when the pressure on the gas is increased sufficiently, the forces of attraction between molecules prevent them from moving apart, and the gas condenses to either a liquid or a solid.

  • Example: Water vapor condenses and forms liquid water (sweat) on the outside of a cold glass or can.
  • Example: Liquid carbon dioxide forms at the high pressure inside a CO2 fire extinguisher.

The temperature of the air falls in two ways. Firstly, cooling occurs around very small particles of freely floating air when it comes in contact with some colder object. Secondly, loss in air temperature takes place on a massive scale due to rising of air to higher altitudes. The condensation takes place around the smoke, salt and dust particles which attract water vapour to condense around them. They are called hygroscopic nuclei. When the relative humidity of an air is high, a slight cooling is required to bring the temperature down below dew point. But when the relative humidity is low and the temperature of the air is high, a lot of cooling of the air will be necessary to bring the temperature down below dew point. Thus, condensation is directly related to the relative humidity and the rate of cooling.

here are four types of condensation and the worst period for such problems is September to May:-

  1. Surface condensation. This is the most familiar type of condensation, taking the form of water on window panes, cold wall surfaces and tiles.
  2. Interstitial condensation. This is condensation forming between walls or within the building structure.
  3. Reverse condensation. This is also called “Summer condensation”. If rains drenches a wall and strong sunlight then dries it, the heat can actually force water vapour into the wall. When it then meets an insulated surface, it forms condensation at that barrier.
  4. Radiation condensation. This is sometimes called “clear night condensation“. If there is a sudden temperature drop at night, it can cause condensation on the underside of roof coverings, for example: often this drips onto the insulation quilting and causes a distinctive mottled effect upon the quilting.


Dew, Frost, Fog, Mist and Cloud

Dew: When the atmospheric moisture is condensed and deposited in the form of water droplets on cooler surface of solid objects such as grass blades, leaves of plants and trees and stones, it is termed as dew. Condensation in dew form occurs when there is clear sky, little or no wind, high relative humidity and cold long nights. These conditions lead to greater terrestrial radiation and the solid objects become cold enough to bring the temperature of air down below dew point. In this process the extra moisture of the air gets deposited on these objects. Dew is formed when dew point is above freezing point. Dew formation can be seen if the water is poured into a glass from the bottle kept in a refrigerator. The outer cold surface of the glass brings the temperature of the air in contact with the surface down below dew point and extra moisture gets deposited on the outer wall of the glass.
Frost: When the dew point is below freezing point, under above mentioned conditions, the condensation of extra moisture takes place in the form of very minute particles of ice crystals. It is called frost. In this process, the air moisture condenses directly in the form of tiny crystal of ice. This form of condensation is disastrous for standing crops such as potato, peas, pulses, grams, etc. It also creates problems for road transport system.
Mist and Fog: When condensation takes place in the air near the earth’s surface in the form of tiny droplets of water hanging and floating in the air, it is called mist. In mist the visibility is more than one kilometer and less than two kilometers. But when the visibility is reduced to less than one kilometer, it is called fog. Ideal conditions for the formation of mist and fog are clear sky, calm and cold winter nights.
Cloud: Clouds are visible aggregates of water droplets, ice particles, or a mixture of both along with varying amounts of dust particles. A typical cloud contains billions of droplets having diameters on the or- der 060.01 to 0.02 mm; yet liquid or solid water accounts for less than 10 parts per million of the cloud volume. Clouds are generally classified on the basis of their general form or appearance and alti- tude.

Rainfall types.

Precipitation or Rainfall is defined as water in liquid or solid forms falling to the earth. It happens when continuous condensation in the body of air helps the water droplets or ice crystals to grow in size and weight that the air cannot hold them and as a result these starts falling on the ground under the force of gravity.

Different types of Rainfall are:-

  • Convectional Rainfall :-Excessive heating of the earth’s surface in tropical region results in the vertical air currents. These currents, lift the warm moist air to higher strata of atmosphere. When-the temperature of such a humid air starts falling below dew point continuously, clouds are formed. These clouds cause heavy rainfall which is associated with lightning and thunder. This type of rainfall is called conventional rainfall. It is very common in equatorial region where it is a daily phenomenon in the afternoon
    (b) Orographic or Relief Rainfall :-Orographic rainfall on formed where air rises and cools because of a topographic barrier. When their temperature fall below dew point, clouds are formed. These clouds cause widespread rain on the windward slopes of the mountain range. This type of rain is called orographic rainfall. However when these winds cross over the mountain range and descend along the leeward slopes, they get warm and cause little rain. Region lying on the leeward side of the mountain receiving little rain is called rainshadow area (see figure 12.4). A famous example of orographic rainfall is Cherrapunji on the southern margin of the Khasi Hills in Meghalaya India.
    (c) Convergence or Cyclonic Rainfall:-Convergence rainfall, produced where air currents converge and rise. In tropical regions where opposing air currents have comparable temperatures, the lifting is more or less vertical and is usually accompanied by con- vention. Convectioned activity frequently occurs along fronts where the temperature of the air masses concerned are quite different. Mixing of air along the front also probably contributes to condensation and therefore to the frontal rainfall. When two large air masses of different densities and temperature meet, the warmer moist air mass is lifted above the colder one. When this happens, the rising warm air mass condenses to form clouds which cause extensive down pour. This rainfall is associated with thunder and lightning. ‘This type of rainfall is also called frontal rainfall. This type of rainfall is associated with both warm and cold fronts, (fig. 12.5) It is gener- ally steady and may persist for a whole day or even longer.



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