Difference Between Cyclone and Hurricane

Main Difference – Cyclone vs Hurricane

Cyclone is a storm or system of winds that circulates around a center of low atmospheric pressure. Hurricane is a severe tropical cyclone originating in the equatorial regions of the Atlantic Ocean or Caribbean Sea or eastern regions of the Pacific Ocean, traveling north, northwest, or northeast from its point of origin. This is the key difference between cyclone and hurricane.

This article studies,

1. What is a Cyclone?
     – Definition, Parts, Features, Types

2. What is a Hurricane?
     – Definition, Features, Examples

3. What is the difference between Cyclone and Hurricane?

Difference Between Cyclone and Hurricane - Comparison Summary

What is a Cyclone

A cyclone is  a storm or system of winds that circulates around a center of low atmospheric pressure. Cyclones circulate clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere and anticlockwise in the Northern Hemisphere. They are also accompanied by stormy and destructive weather.

Parts of a Cyclone

There are three main identifiable parts in a cyclone.

Eye – this is the center of the storm and the area with the lowest atmospheric pressure.

Eye wall – this is the area directly around the eye where winds rotate at a fast rate.

Cloud chains – these are the clouds that form outside the storm; they increase the size of the cyclone

Types of Cyclones

There are three main types of cyclones known as tropical, subtropical and extratropical cyclones.

Tropical cyclones are warm-core systems that have warm, humid, tropical air mass throughout the entire storm. They occur over warm ocean water near the equator. They also cause numerous thunderstorms that produce flooding rain and strong winds.

Extratropical cyclones primarily get energy from the horizontal temperature contrasts that exist in the atmosphere. These low-pressure systems are associated with associated cold fronts, warm fronts, and occluded fronts.

Subtropical cyclones possess features of both tropical cyclones and extratropical cyclones. 

Main Difference - Cyclone vs Hurricane

An extratropical cyclone near Iceland

What is a Hurricane

A hurricane is a type of cyclone. To be more precise, hurricane is another name for a tropical cyclone. This term refers to tropical cyclones that affect the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean and the Eastern Pacific Ocean. A tropical cyclone that occurs in the western Pacific or Indian Oceans are called typhoons.

In order to be named a hurricane, a vortex should have the maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or higher. However, only six to ten cyclones reach the magnitude of hurricanes every year. They are common in the month of June through November although they are not as common as typhoons.

If a cyclone sustains winds of 111 mph or higher and corresponds to a Category 3, 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, it will be termed as a major hurricane. Hurricane Katrina, hurricane Mitch, hurricane Ike, hurricane Sandy and Great Galveston hurricane are some of the most deadly and destructive typhoons the world has ever experienced.

Difference Between Cyclone and Hurricane

Path of Katrina Hurricane

Difference Between Cyclone and Hurricane

Definition

Cyclone is a storm or system of winds that circulates around a center of low atmospheric pressure.

Hurricane is a severe tropical cyclone originating in the equatorial regions of the Atlantic Ocean or Caribbean Sea or eastern regions of the Pacific Ocean, traveling north, northwest, or northeast from its point of origin.

Connection

Cyclone has three types: tropical, subtropical and extratropical.

Hurricane is a tropical cyclone. 

Destruction 

Cyclone may not be destructive since some of them don’t occur in the land.

Hurricane may be more destructive.

Frequency 

Cyclones are more common than hurricanes.

Hurricanes are not as common as other cyclones.

Image Courtesy:

“Low pressure system over Iceland” By – (Public Domain) via  

“Katrina 2005 track” By Nilfanion – Created using WikiProject Tropical cyclones/Tracks. The background image was created by NASA. The tracking data is from the National Hurricane Center’s Atlantic hurricane database (Public Domain) via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.


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