The circular motion that inherently creates the earth cycles such as prevailing winds, high and low pressures, and effects weather patterns is called the Coriolis effect. It deflects objects, wind, and ocean currents in a straight or linear path in relation to the Earth’s surface. The strength and speed is in direct alignment with the rotation of the planet. However, this changes with the latitude, seemingly to be faster toward the north and south poles.
The Coriolis effect is caused by the Earth’s rotational movement. As the planet twirls counter-clockwise, anything hovering above the planet will be pushed away or deflected from the surface. This type of deflection is caused because the planet spins at a faster speed than the object hovering above. As the latitudes change of the object, the planet’s spin will effect it. For example, a plane flying above the equator will take longer to get to the destination, than a plane flying near the north or South Pole. Also, it is important to note that the plane at either pole would not feel much of a deflection, but the plane at the equator would feel the most.
Other impacts of the Coriolis Effect are the different deflections of wind, ocean currents, and severe storms, such as hurricanes. In the northern hemisphere, a storm will spiral to the east, and in the southern hemisphere, it will spiral to the west. This effect is why tropical warm winds will be carried northward, and why arctic winds can blow toward the equator, stopping short near the 60th parallel on the globe.
The updrafts and downdrafts that occur with the normal wind cycles are part of thunderstorms. A thunderstorm, which humans can see as a cluster of little cumulonimbus clouds that form in the sky. The unstable air mass that collects moisture when the pressure is low in the atmosphere, is part of the thunderstorm creation. When the upper divergence collects enough power to accumulate the surface air, and merges the updrafts that cool to form the cloud, the thunderstorm is born. The cumulus stage is an updraft that forms the cloud and includes the combination of heating from the sun and moist air from the ocean. The next stage is the mature stage that creates the rain that falls on the updraft. The rain will start the creation of an intense downdraft. The next stage is the dissipating stage. At this stage, the downdraft will take in the entire storm and end the updrafts as the storm settles down and eventually ends. One point to remember is that just before a storm, the air becomes moist and warm at ground level.
A severe thunderstorm is the above mentioned thunderstorm synopsis, but at a much larger and more intense level. For example, the updrafts and downdrafts are not as dependent on each other, instead they are quite independent, which is why the storm will last longer and be much stronger, and may demolish areas on land. Super-cell thunderstorms may develop because the updraft is tilted as the wind directions change.
A super-cell thunderstorm is at the meso-scale system, which means that it is within the troposphere. The storm is usually only in one small area, and is short-lived. Although a thunderstorm is the combination of one or more unstable air masses or thunderstorms, the super-cells that create tornadoes also encompass fast, powerful, and gusty winds at the surface of the earth. Although the storm may look like a simple or severe thunderstorm, with the cumulus and mature stages, the meso-cold front that comes with a gusty wind will spread close to the ground before the actual thunderstorm arrives.
The super cell on the meso level has a constant rotating updrft, which creates hurricanes is called a rotating thunderstorm. They can be one of four or a convergence of several of the four super-cells. Some have several cells that converge to create a multi-cell storm, which has the potential to become some of the most damaging and severe storms that have been experienced on the planet. These storms can create havoc for about 20+ miles ahead of the storm.
There are three classifications of these super cells. High-precipitation (HP), Low precipitation (LP), and the most common are called a Classic cell. Most of the LP storms occur where very little water is available, such as the Great Plaines area of the United States. Most HP storms occur in areas that are high in moisture content, such as near the oceans. Hurricanes can be a diameter of 350 miles across, and have an eye that is about 12 miles in diameter, and the average height is about 7.5 miles high. In the Pacific, they are called a Typhoon, and in the Indian Ocean, a Cyclone. The tropical depression of these storms can have an average wind speed of 23 mph. A tropical storm can be an average of 40 mph. A hurricane has an average of about 79 mph. Hurricane season lasts from late summer to early fall. The destruction of the storm depends on the wind speed, storm surge, and flooding that occurs.