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Two tornadoes strike China

Context:

Two tornadoes that struck central and eastern China killed at least 12 people and injured more than 400.

Relevance:

GS-I: Geography (Physical geography – Climatology, Important Geophysical phenomena)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is a Tornado?
  2. Distribution of tornadoes
  3. Differences between a Tornado and a Cyclone

What is a Tornado?

  • A tornado is a rapidly rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the Earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud.
  • The windstorm is often referred to as a twister, whirlwind or cyclone-winds blow counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern.
  • Tornadoes come in many shapes and sizes, and they are often visible in the form of a condensation funnel originating from the base of a cumulonimbus cloud, with a cloud of rotating debris and dust beneath it.
  • It is generally accompanied by extreme weather such as heavy downpours, hail storms, and lightning.
  • Tornadoes generally occur in middle latitudes. The tornado over the sea is called water sprouts.
  • These violent storms are the manifestation of the atmosphere’s adjustments to varying energy distribution. The potential and heat energies are converted into kinetic energy in these storms and the restless atmosphere again returns to its stable state.
  • Tornado is a small-diameter column of violently rotating air developed within a convective cloud and in contact with the ground.
  • Tornadoes occur most often in association with thunderstorms during the spring and summer in the mid-latitudes of both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
  • These whirling atmospheric vortices can generate the strongest winds known on Earth: wind speeds in the range of 500 km (300 miles) per hour.

Distribution of tornadoes

  • Rare in polar regions and infrequent at latitudes higher than 50° N and 50° S.
  • The temperate and tropical regions are the most prone to thunderstorms.
  • Tornadoes have been reported on all continents except Antarctica.
  • United States has the most violent tornadoes.
  • Canada reports the second largest number of tornadoes.
  • In the Indian sub-continent, Bangladesh is the most prone country to tornadoes.
  • At any moment there are approximately 1,800 thunderstorms in progress throughout the world.

Differences between a Tornado and a Cyclone

TornadoCyclone
A tornado is a violent, twisted funnel of high-speed wind.A cyclone is a huge and powerful storm.
It is formed when a funnel-like column of cold air sinks down from a story cloud.A cyclone consists of a low-pressure area with high pressure all around.
Warm air rises up which whirls up causing high speed circulating winds.High-speed winds go around the centre violently and are accompanied by heavy rains.
They have a relatively smaller diameter.They have large diameters.

-Source: The Hindu

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