Difference Between Cyclone and Hurricane

Key Difference: A hurricane is also called a tropical cyclone, making it a type of cyclone. A cyclone and a hurricane only have a few differences. A hurricane is most commonly found in tropical zones, over warm waters in the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, while cyclones are found in the Southern Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean.

A hurricane is tropical cyclone, which is a type of cyclone. In this manner, a hurricane is not so different from a cyclone. Let’s look at the definition of a cyclone to understand it better.

A cyclone is generally defined in meteorology as an area of closed, circular fluid motion rotating in the same direction as the Earth. It has a high pressure outside and a low pressure inside. The center of the cyclone is usually known as an eye and has the lowest atmospheric pressure. A tropical cyclone (one that occurs in tropical areas) usually feeds on the heat that is released when moist air rises, resulting in condensation of water vapor.

Depending on the size and intensity of the cyclone, wind speed can range anywhere from 32mph to 157mph. Different types of cyclones include extratropical, subtropical, and tropical; cyclones can transition between these phases given the right conditions. Cyclones are considered to be as oceanic phenomena, as they can die out on lands due to loss of moisture, but they still manage to cause massive destruction due to wind and rain. A cyclone has a diameter on the scale of hundreds of kilometers and is comprised of several to dozens of convective storms.

A hurricane is a tropical cyclone that has very similar conditions to a cyclone, except it is found in tropical places. A hurricane is characterized by thunderstorms, strong winds and heavy rains. A hurricane needs a warm area to develop and cannot exist in cold areas; hence they are most common in tropical areas. Places were hurricanes can most commonly be found are over warm waters in the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. The center of a hurricane is also referred to as the ‘eye’ of the hurricane, while it is surrounded by strong winds and rain, called as the ‘eye wall’. The eye is warmer compared to the rest of the surroundings.

Both, cyclones and hurricanes can be determined using Pulse-Doppler radars and their strength can be measured using scales such as the Beaufort scale and Saffir-Simpson scale, though scales may differ according to countries.

 

Hurricane

Cyclone

Definition

A hurricane is also known as a tropical cyclone. It has a closed, circular fluid motion. A hurricane is characterized by thunderstorms, strong winds and heavy rains.

A Cyclone is an area of closed, circular fluid motion rotating in the same direction as the Earth. Most circulations are centered on areas of low atmospheric pressure. Mostly take place on water

Composition

Moist air, water

Air, water, moisture

Shape

Closed, circular fluid motion. The low pressure center is known as the eye and the strong winds surrounding the eye is called the eye wall

Closed, circular fluid motion. The center is known as an eye

Types

Hurricane is type of cyclone

Extratropical cyclones, Subtropical cyclones and Tropical cyclones

Speed

Wind speed of 74mph to over 155mph

Cyclones can range anywhere from 32 mph to 157 mph

Rotation

Clockwise in the southern hemisphere; counter-clockwise in the northern hemisphere

Clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere; counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere

Scale for Measurement

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale

Beaufort Scale and Saffir-Simpson scale and may vary in different countries

Size

Radius of outermost closed isobar can range from 222km to 888 km

Has a diameter on the scale of hundreds of kilometers

How are they formed

Warm low-pressure air rises, while cold high-pressure air moves underneath it

Comprised of several to dozens of convective storms

Location

Tropical zone, over warm waters in the Atlantic and Pacific ocean

Southern Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean

Life

Days

Days

Image Courtesy: xweather.org, nasa.gov

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