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January-February 2017

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Weatherscapes: Singapore – The Diamond Island City-State

Known globally for its business friendliness and affluence, the tiny Republic of Singapore lies firmly within an equatorial climate belt that naturally brings year-round wealth of another sort: abundant sun, humidity, and precipitation. With rain falling an average of half of all days per year, however, Singapore's location of just 1.3 degrees north of the Equator keeps it almost immune from the planet's most rain- and humidity-laden storms, tropical cyclones—almost. Most tropical cyclonic storms—the names of which vary depending on intensity and location on the globe, and include hurricanes, typhoons, tropical storms, cyclones, and others—form between five degrees and 15 degrees of latitude north or south of the equator. These latitudinal belts provide two vital components to tropical cyclogenesis: warm water and sufficient rotation imparted by the Coriolis force. The Coriolis force simply isn't strong enough at latitudes within five degrees of the equator, with no force imparted at all at the equator itself, to spur rotation. Latitudes greater than 15 degrees, while subject to ever stronger atmospheric rotation, aren't warm enough to provide the energy necessary to spawn a tropical cyclone.

Weatherwise contributing editor ED DARACK is an independent author and photographer who covers a broad range of topics. His next book is The Final Flight of Extortion 17, published by Smithsonian Books. Learn more at www.darack.com.       

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