4-Conditions: How Hurricanes Form

Learn about the four conditions needed for a hurricane to develop, When and where they occur and why we name hurricanes.

How can something as destructive as a hurricane have any sort of positive role to play on the environment? Hurricanes violently transfer awesome amounts of energy and heat from between the equator and the colder regions north and south of the equator, and are an essential element of Earth’s atmosphere. We know that Earth’s most violent storms need 3 conditions fulfilled to develop, when and where they occur, but why do we personify them by giving them names?

Four Conditions

A hurricane needs four conditions present to develop. The first is very warm, moist air with a tropical ocean surface temperature above 26C. The second is to be able to take advantage of the spinning Coriolis Effect which can only occur between 5 and 15 degrees north and south of the equator. The third is that the atmosphere temperature. As you go higher, the atmosphere must cool off quickly. The fourth is, from the ocean surface up to 9 km above sea level, the wind must be blowing in the same direction or other tropical disturbance. In the Atlantic the wind direction is west. Warm winds from the horn of Africa blow westward, gain moister and heat from the ocean, and Coriolis Force spin until ultimately developing into a hurricane.

Where and When

Hurricanes occur yearly at different times around the world.  The North Indian Ocean hurricane season is between December and April, the South Indian Ocean’s season is October to May. The Northwest Pacific’s season is January to April, The Northeast’s is between May and November and the Southwest Pacific season is between October and May. Finally, the North Atlantic season is between June and November.

Naming Conventions

Tropical Storms that reach 74 mph to 95 mph attain a category 1 hurricane status up to a category 5 status for hurricanes with winds 155 mph and above. When exchanging detailed hurricane information amongst hundreds of boats at sea, coastal villages, weather stations, media and bases, less prone to errors, were short distinctive names. In 1953, six lists of women’s’ names, rotated yearly, were used for hurricane’s names in the Atlantic and men’s names were not added until 1979. The name list is only modified when a name is retired because of a storm that was more costly or deadly and deemed inappropriate based on sensitivity issues.

The scientific classification for a hurricane is a tropical cyclone. The term hurricane is only used for tropical storms that occur in the Atlantic Ocean; in the Pacific, they are called typhoons and in the Indian Ocean, they are called cyclones. Hurricanes need 4 conditions met to develop. Some of these conditions required for a hurricane to develop dictate where and when global hurricane seasons occur. So severe, destructive and awesome are hurricanes, structured naming conventions have been developed so as to not be subjected to errors when discussing details of hurricanes.

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One Response to “4-Conditions: How Hurricanes Form”
  1. CD Says...

    On January 25, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    Finally a site where i can get all the info i needed:)


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