A Cyclone’s Life Cycle

A tropical cyclone can form or die through multiple variations. However, the most common and traditional form is formation through tropical waves and disturbances in the deep tropics.


Birth of a Cyclone

Although the regions where tropical cyclones form may vary significantly, most if not all tropical cyclones go through the same formation process. The formation of tropical cyclones typically occur on warm ocean waters and in areas of low wind shear. They use the warm waters in these oceans to strengthen, and they live off of these warm waters. Warm and moist air rises from the surface and because of it, less air is left on the surface. This causes lower air pressure on the surface, creating a disturbance. As a storm starts to develop, spin is created due to the Earth’s rotation, creating a spinning area of low pressure, the basis of a tropical cyclone. As the storm continues to develop and strengthen, new challenges begin to occur.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               .

Challenges to a Cyclone

As a storm gathers pace over time, many factors threaten the storm from further intensification. First, dry air can disturb the formation of a tropical cyclone and cause it to dissipate when it’s still in the beginning of development. Shear can also cause it to weaken and get its convection clouds disorganized and misplaced from the storm’s center. Even if a storm develops flawlessly with high wind speeds and a center of circulation, the storm could still weaken to internal errors. An Eyewall Replacement Cycle for example will make the storm lose its intensity by a little and expand its windfield. An new eyewall will form and the inner eyewall will dissipate. This makes the eye a lot bigger than before, and potentially opens the eye for a bit, causing dry air to invade the center and weaken it significantly. Many of these factors ultimately contribute to the downfall of cyclones, with the main factor being shear with the combination of lower water temperatures.

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