MadSci Network: Earth Sciences

Re: Why are there 3 different names for the same atmospheric condition?

Date: Wed Aug 30 14:32:34 2000
Posted By: Nezette Rydell, forecaster,National Weather Service
Area of science: Earth Sciences
ID: 967168985.Es


Cyclones,typhoons, and hurricanes all refer to intense tropical cyclones. A cyclone is a closed low pressure system with winds rotating counter clockwise around the center. When wind speeds around a tropical low presure system reach 35 mph, these systems are designated tropical storms and are given names.

What we call rain in English, is llueve in Spanish, and regnet in German. These intense storms have different names in different languages also. According to the Glossary of Meteorology published by the American Meteorological Society, the word hurricane is derived from one of several differently spelled Spanish and Indian words including huracan. The word typhoon is derived from either a Cantonese word meaning great wind, an Arabic word meaning smoke, or a Greek word meaning monster.

The widespread use of hurricane and typhoon reflect the dominant language in the Atlantic and Pacific basins frequented by these storms.

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