WW2010
University of Illinois

WW2010
 
  welcome
 
> online guides
 
  archives
 
  educational cd-rom
 
  current weather
 
  about ww2010
 
  index

Online Guides
 
  introduction
 
> meteorology
 
  remote sensing
 
  reading maps
 
  projects, activities

Meteorology
 
  introduction
 
  air masses, fronts
 
  clouds, precipitation
 
  el nino
 
  forces, winds
 
> hurricanes
 
  hydrologic cycle
 
  light, optics
 
  midlatitude cyclones
 
  severe storms
 
  weather forecasting

Hurricanes
 
  introduction
 
  definition
 
  how they're named
 
  movement
 
> convective processes
 
  development stages
 
  destruction

User Interface
 
  graphics
> text

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Convective Processes
and their role in the development of hurricanes

When a cold air mass is located above an organized cluster of tropical thunderstorms, an unstable atmosphere results. This instability increases the likelihood of convection, which leads to strong updrafts (red arrows) that lift the air and moisture upwards, creating an environment favorable for the development of large cumulonimbus clouds. A tropical disturbance is born, the first stage of a developing hurricane.

[Image: animation of early stages of hurricane development (80K)]
Animation by: Shao

Surface convergence (pink horizontal arrows in animation below) causes rising motion around a surface cyclone (labeled as "L"). The air cools as it rises (red vertical arrows) and condensation occurs, which releases latent heat into the atmosphere. This heating causes air to expand, creating an area of high pressure aloft. The force resulting from the established pressure gradient causes air to diverge at upper levels (red horizontal arrows).

[Image: (25K)]
Animation by: Shao

Since pressure is a measure of the weight of the air above a unit area, removal of air at upper levels subsequently reduces pressure at the surface. A further reduction in surface pressure leads to increasing convergence (due to an intensified pressure gradient), which further intensifies the rising motion, latent heat release, and so on. As long as favorable conditions exist, this process continues to build upon itself, ultimately resulting in the development of a hurricane.



movement
Terms for using data resources. CD-ROM available.
Credits and Acknowledgments for WW2010.
Department of Atmospheric Sciences (DAS) at
the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

development stages