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20. Tropical Cyclones

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Weather and Climate: a Teachers’ Guide

Pathway: Extending Weather

Depressions – Microclimates – Urban Climates – Tropical Cyclones

Lesson overview: In this lesson we explore the structure, location and names for Tropical Cyclones as well as some of their potential impacts.

Tropical Cyclones are intense and extremely damaging storms.  Fuelled by the transfer of heat from the ocean to the atmosphere they can grow into some of the most destructive weather systems on Earth. Tropical cyclones need specific conditions to form and intensify.  These limit the locations in which Tropical Cyclones are able to form.  Called Tropical Cyclones anywhere in the world, they are classified as Typhoons in the North-West Pacific and Hurricanes in the Atlantic and North-East Pacific. A Tropical Cyclone has a distinctive structure, consisting of a clear central ‘eye’, surrounded by extensive cloud bands that spiral outwards and may be hundreds of kilometres long.  They can have severe impacts, causing coastal flooding and widespread damage to both the natural world and human infrastructure. As the climate changes, the most damaging Tropical Cyclones are expected to increase in intensity.

Learning objectives:

  • To understand what weather and hazards are associated with a Tropical Cyclone.

  • To be able to describe the structure of a Tropical Cyclone.

  • To be able to explain how and why Tropical Cyclones form.

Key Teaching Resources

Tropical Cyclones PowerPoint
Tropical Cyclones worksheet
Hurricane Dorian student data
Plotting Tropical Storm locations using GIS – video.

Teacher CPD/ Extended Reading

Tropical Cyclones_More for Teachers

Alternative or Extension Resources

Further Tropical Cyclone teaching resources

Weather and Climate: a Teachers’ Guide

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