Typhoon Matsa approaching China and Taiwan
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Typhoon Matsa approaching China and Taiwan

November 21, 2007
Heavy rain and strong winds from Typhoon Matsa have forced schools, businesses, and government offices in Northern Taiwan to close. The land mass in the upper left corner of this image is mainland China; the large island just below is Taiwan. A typhoon is a type of tropical cyclone, with maximum sustained winds of greater than 63 knots or 73 mph (1 knot = 1.15 mph). A tropical cyclone that is located in the Northwest Pacific Ocean west of the International dateline is called a typhoon; a similar storm in the North Atlantic Ocean is called a hurricane. Typhoons are large, rotating regions of wind, clouds, and thunderstorms formed over warm tropical oceans. While the high winds, heavy rains, tornonadoes, and storm surges caused by typhoons are often highly destructive in terms of human lives and property, they form an important part of the biosphere by transferring heat energy from the tropics to the mid-latitudes and polar regions.

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