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What causes storms in different countries?
Question Date: 1999-12-17
Answer 1:

The processes that form storms are the same no matter what country you live in. These processes are fairly complicated, but I'll see if I can summarize it right. To start a storm, you first need to start warming the air in a region. As the air warms, it begins to rise, just as a hot-air balloon will rise. As the air rises, it begins to cool, and starts to rain. (Cold air can carry less water than hot air). Rising air and rain is all you need to have thunderstorms -- Midwesterners get a lot of these because, without an ocean nearby to keep things cool, the land surface warms very quickly.

For _really_ big storms, things get more complicated. As the hot air rises, the air from surrounding regions flows in to fill the empty space. However and this is the tricky part as the air flows in, the Coriolis force causes it to start circling in a counterclockwise fashion. (The Coriolis force is caused by the spin of the earth. An excellent project would be to learn why the earth's spin helps create hurricanes and other big storms.) As long as the air is being heated, it will spin faster and faster until you have a really big storm.

Although all countries have storms, some countries will have more storms than others based on their location and geography. Tropical countries tend to have very big storms because they are warm and have a lot of moisture, and coastal areas often experience very damaging storms because there is so much water available to be carried by the storm.

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