lesson 7 - Introduction As you know from the lesson on...

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Introduction As you know from the lesson on Tropical Circulation, climate in the equatorial tropics is dominated by the ITCZ and is characterized by somewhat monotonous weather. You also learned that the tropical regions immediately poleward of the equator are more dramatically affected by migrations of the ITCZ, as well as transient atmospheric disturbances. In this lesson, we will talk about the most large scale and major of the transient atmospheric disturbances in the tropics: tropical cyclones , or hurricanes . Not only will we discuss this type of disturbance and its amazingly destructive power, we will also take a look at how people have learned to live with them. Image source: Hurricane history, NOAA-CSC [2002] Ever wondered what the difference is between hurricanes, typhoons, tropical cyclones, cyclones, and bagyo (sometimes spelled "baguios")? When was the last time you remember East Lansing being hit by a hurricane? How about a tropical disturbance or depression? When you hear that a hurricane is about to make landfall in the U.S., what states automatically come to mind? Would you know how to protect yourself, others, and your property if a hurricane threatened? What time of year might you want to avoid vacationing on the Gulf of Mexico or in SE Asia?
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News man (probably the new guy in the office) out in the storm. Image source: Hurricane Gordon Chase, Sept. 16-17, 2000 by Jim Edds [2002] This lesson aims to answer some of these questions. Whether you have pondered them before or not, you are in for quite a ride. Image source: Hurricane history, NOAA-CSC [2002] What are hurricanes and how do they work?
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The term " hurricane " is one of a few names that we use to describe tropical cyclones ; hurricanes represent the strongest, most organized, and well-developed class of tropical cyclones. Tropical cyclones are transient atmospheric disturbances that occur in the tropics and subtropics; they are known by different names in different locations around the world. Tropical cyclones are called: Location Hurricane North and Central America Typhoons Western Pacific and China Seas (Philippines included) Bagyo Philippines (vernacular) Cyclones Indian Ocean (India, Bangladesh, Indonesia) and Australia Super Typhoon Angela, east of the Philippines in the Philippine Sea . This massive storm passed over the Philippines and further west over the South China Sea before dispersing (November 1, 1995). Image source: modified from Super Typhoon Angela NOAA POES IR , NCDC, HSEI [2002] What are the origins of the terms "hurricane" and "typhoon"? A side note:
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In most of the discussion that follows, I will use the term "tropical cyclone" in a generic sense. I will, however, use the other terms when appropriate. Hurricane Erin, east of Bermuda in the North Atlantic Ocean
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This note was uploaded on 12/13/2010 for the course ISS 215 taught by Professor Lang during the Spring '06 term at Michigan State University.

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lesson 7 - Introduction As you know from the lesson on...

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