What are the differences between a hurricane, a cyclone, and a typhoon?

Hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones© Provided by Gentside Hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones

Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana on Sunday, August 29, 16 years after the devastating passage of Katrina. According to Météo France, about 80 tropical storms or cyclones form on the planet each year. Their amplification worries climatologists. But by the way, when are we talking about a cyclone, hurricane, typhoon, or tropical storm? Are these phenomena set to intensify?

Cyclone, typhoon and hurricane: three terms, one phenomenon

Cyclones, hurricanes, and typhoons are three terms that all cover the same reality. The site Météo France defines it as follows: “a swirling phenomenon of tropical regions, accompanied by strong winds whose speed is greater than or equal to 64 knots, that is to say, 118 km / h.

In reality, the use of one word or another depends on where the cyclonic phenomenon occurs:

  • Cyclones take place in the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific;
  • The term hurricane is used in the North Atlantic and the Northeast Pacific Ocean;
  • Typhoons,finally, occur only in the Pacific Northwest.

They extend over a distance ranging from 500 to 1,000km. Their center, called the eye of the cyclone, is clearly visible on satellite images. Their diameter usually varies from 30 to 60km, but can sometimes reach 150km. The eye of the cyclone is an area of calm, devoid of rain and with a weak wind.

As for tropical storms, this term describes depressions whose winds are measured between 63 and 118 km / h, still according to Météo France.

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