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Tropical Storms

Conditions required for formation:
Causes of tropical storms
Managing the effects of tropical storms
Case Study
What might the examiner ask?


Tropical storms are also known as:

Hurricanes North Atlantic
Typhoons Pacific
Tropical Cyclones South East Asia
Willy-Willies Australia

Conditions required for formation:

  • Over Oceans
  • Ocean temperature over 27°c
  • Water heated to a depth of several metres
  • Close to the East Coast of continents
  • Late summer or early Autumn, when sea temperatures are at their highest (noticed how hurricanes always hit America around September/October!)

Causes of tropical storms

  1. Air on surface of ocean is heated (it also contains lots of moisture)
  2. Hot, humid air rises, cools and condenses. Clouds form.
  3. Rising air creates low pressure. Air rushes in to fill gap left by rising air.
  4. Rotation of the earth means winds do not blow straight. Winds circle towards the centre.
  5. The storm continues to feed itself.
  6. Whole system moves westwards towards land.
  7. When the system crosses the land it losses its source of heat and moisture. The tropical storm losses its energy and dies out.

Managing the effects of tropical storms

Reducing the effects of tropical storms includes:

  • Studying tropical storms once they form
  • Providing an early warning system
  • Long-term planning in areas prone to tropical storms

Case Study

You will have to know at least one case study about tropical storms. If you can learn two, one in an LEDC (e.g. Mozambique or Bangladesh) and one in an MEDC (e.g. one in America - Hurricane Andrew) Make sure you know why tropical storms cause more problems in MEDCs than LEDCs.

What might the examiner ask?

  1. What is crustal instability?
  2. What causes plate movement?
  3. Describe a particular plate margin with the aid of drawings
  4. What effect - earthquake/volcano?
  5. Why do earthquakes occur in Japan/California?
  6. How do countries respond to earthquakes?

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