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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

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.