Difference Between Cyclone and Tsunami

You will be familiar with various natural disasters that exist in the universe.


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Cyclones and Tsunamis are examples of natural disasters that take place on the earth. Cyclone is associated with low atmospheric pressure, while Tsunami is large water waves. Although both are destructive, they have some dissimilarities too.

Key Takeaways

  1. A Cyclone is a rotating storm with high winds and heavy rain, while a Tsunami is a series of ocean waves caused by an underwater earthquake, volcanic eruption, or landslide.
  2. Cyclones primarily threaten coastal regions, while Tsunamis can affect coastal areas around the ocean basin.
  3. Cyclones can be predicted and monitored using advanced technology, while Tsunamis are more difficult to predict and can strike without warning.

Cyclone vs Tsunami

The difference between cyclone and tsunami is that cyclone is the system or series of winds that are rotating in the inward direction to the extent of an area where the atmospheric pressure is considered as low. In other words, a cyclone is a destructive storm. On the contrary, Tsunami is the water waves that arise or cause by an earthquake.

Cyclone vs Tsunami

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A Cyclone is a form of natural disaster that results in destructive and violent storms that rotate about the low-pressure zone. It originated in various parts of the world and develop by the winds.

Cyclones cause heavy rainfall, which consequently results in a flood. In the northern hemisphere of the earth, it rotates counterclockwise, while in the southern hemisphere, the direction of a cyclone would be clockwise.

A Tsunami is the violent form of water waves that arise due to disturbance in the ocean or earthquake. The word Tsunami is derived from the Japanese language, which means harbor wave.

It is a non-predictive form of natural disaster. The high intensity of a tsunami can be dangerous for livelihood and cause severe damage.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCycloneTsunami
What is it?A cyclone is a destructive and violent storm that rotates about a low-pressure zone.A Tsunami is the violent form of water waves that arise due to disturbance in the ocean or earthquake.
OriginThe word ‘Cyclone’ originated from the Greek word.The word ‘Tsunami’ originated from the Japanese word.
PredictionIt can be predicted.It cannot be predicted.
DevelopmentCyclone is developed due to the windA tsunami is developed with the help of an earthquake
DamagesA cyclone caused strong winds, thunderstorms, and rainfallTsunami will cause an abnormal rise in water

What is Cyclone?

Cyclone is derived from the Greek word ‘Cyclos,’ which means coiling snake. It is a destructive wind system in which the winds rotate in the direction of the inward around a low-pressure area.

It can be predicted and cause rainfall, strong winds, and thunderstorm. The cyclone can be observed or detect in various parts of the world. They are formed over water and further developed by winds.

The cyclone is characterized in six broad types:

  • Polar Cyclone- It is less damaging and majorly arise in less populated areas, and can be as wide as 2000km.
  • Polar Lows- It is difficult to predict, and its horizontal length or width can be 1000kms.
  • Extra-Tropical Cyclone- It produces thunderstorms, and this can be done by cloudy weather.
  • Subtropical Cyclone- This type of cyclone needs a mid-tropospheric cyclone.
  • Tropical Cyclone- It results in violent storms and strong winds with 4000kms diameter.
  • Meso Cyclones- They are hardly considered as destructive and have 2kms to 10kms diameter.

What is Tsunami?

The word ‘Tsunami’ is originated from a Japanese word that means harbor. The nature of all kinds of tsunamis would be almost similar, but they have different intensities.

This type of natural disaster is majorly occurred or raised in the Pacific regions, but it will not to predicted if this violent water wave will strike a place or not.

The destruction or damage caused by Tsunami is worst or more destructive. A Tsunami is caused by a disturbance in the ocean or due to earthquake. The tsunami waves can reach up to 100 mph.

If the tsunami is developed or formed, then it results in an earthquake under the water with an intensity of up to 28. The water would be pushed in the upwards direction and have the potential and capability to destroy a whole nation.


Main Differences Between Cyclone and Tsunami

  1. Natural Disasters is one of the major reason that causes heavy damage to the life and property. Cyclone and tsunami are two such natural disasters that cause severe damage to the livelihood that may last for many decades. The word cyclone is derived from the Greek word ‘Cyclos,’ which means coiling snake, and on the other hand, Tsunami is derived from the Japanese word, which means harbor.
  2. The destruction caused by a natural disaster can be deadly and dangerous. It is important to understand the meaning of these two terms. A cyclone results in destructive and violent storms that rotate about the low-pressure zone. On the contrary, A Tsunami is the violent form of water waves that arise due to disturbance in the ocean or earthquake.
  3. A cyclone is broadly characterized in six types, and it can occur in various parts of the world. On the other side, a tsunami is majorly occurred or arise in the Pacific regions. If the prediction is concerned, a cyclone can be predicted by the scientist, but a tsunami cannot be predicted. In other words, a scientist will found it difficult to correctly predict if a tsunami strikes a place or not.
  4. The formation of the natural disaster may vary from one to another. Most natural disasters are considered violent and destructive, but the intensity of their destructiveness depends on their intensity or type. The cyclones are consist of six types, Polar Cyclone, Subtropical Cyclone, Polar Lows, Meso cyclones, extratropical cyclones, and tropical cyclones. On the other hand, tsunamis are usually the same. They have different intensities.
  5. The damage caused by natural disasters can be severe and quite deadly. A cyclone is developed by the wind. Consequently cause thunderstorms, rainfall, and strong winds. On the contrary, a tsunami is developed due to the earthquake can result in the abnormal rise of water in various water bodies.
Difference Between Cyclone and Tsunami
  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/sed.12586
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/sed.12192

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