Cyclones gain intensity, frequency

ABDUL WAHAB KHAN | NT

Panaji

The Arabian Sea has turned into a ‘cyclone hotspot’,
churning out 15 cyclones in the last five years. Two more are still
brewing.

The cyclones brewed in the Arabian Sea since 2014 have
given out a pattern: of the 15 cyclones formed in the sea, 11 were of severe
category indicating that the intensity of cyclones in the region has also been
on the rise.

Fortunately, these cyclones have spared Goa’s coast from
direct impact;

they moved straight and skirted the coast bringing
squally wind and heavy rainfall without causing major devastation.

According to the IMD statistics, tropical cyclone
activity peaks during pre- and post-monsoon seasons in May and November. More
storms brew during the post-monsoon
season.

The year 2014 saw formation of two cyclones.
‘Nilofar’ intensified into an extremely
severe cyclonic storm late October and brought
unseasonal rains in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa. Cyclone ‘Nanauk’ formed in June that
year checking monsoon fury.

There were three cyclones in 2015: ‘Chapala’ and
‘Megh’ intensified into extremely severe
cyclonic storms in October and November; ‘Ashoba’ formed in June was also a cyclonic storm.

In December 2016, cyclone ‘Vardah’ turned into a very
severe cyclonic storm which was the fourth cyclonic storm as well as the most
intense one of that year, which made a landfall in Chennai.

In December 2017, ‘Ockhi’, a very severe cyclonic storm, wreaked havoc in
south India claiming over 20 lives in
Kerala and Tamil Nadu. In Goa, beach shacks were hit by high tides after the cyclonic storm came closest to the Goa coast.

In 2018, cyclones continued to gain intensity: four

cyclones formed that year: ‘Sagar’, ‘Mekunu’, ‘Luban’,
‘Gaja’; except for Sagar, all cyclones
were of ‘very’ to ‘severe’ intensity cyclones.

Cyclone ‘Gaja’ made landfall between Tamil Nadu and
Puducherry in November, while ‘Mekunu’ made a landfall between south Oman and southeast Yemen coasts in
May.

‘Luban’ was very severe cyclone which made landfall in
northern Yemen in October.

The cyclones are more prone to the Bay of Bengal as its
surface temperature is higher than that of the Arabian Sea. However, the
frequency and occurrence of cyclones has almost
been same in the Arabian Sea and
the Bay of Bengal in the last five years.

In the last five years, 15 cyclones brewed in the Arabian
Sea and the number will go up as two more are brewing at present.

On the other hand, 16 cyclones formed in the Bay of
Bengal in the last five years.

An IMD scientist explained that the temperature increase
over the surface of seas has alarmingly amplified the ‘waxing’ trend of
cyclogenesis (birth of storms).

A low pressure area is the first step towards formation
of a cyclone that occurs due to continuous warming of the sea which is
responsible for an increase in the severity of tropical cyclones.

The year 2019 has already seen four cyclones in the
Arabian Sea: ‘Vayu’, ‘Hikaa’, ‘Kyarr’ and ‘Maha’, which have been from ‘very
severe cyclonic storm to super cyclone’.

It began with cyclone ‘Vayu’ in June which was classified
as a very severe cyclonic storm by the IMD with wind speeds of 150 kmph. This
cyclone was blamed for the delay of
monsoon onset over parts of the country.

‘Vayu’ was followed by cyclone ‘Hikaa’ in September,
which was categorised as a very severe cyclonic storm. The cyclone moved in the
northwest direction making a landfall in
Oman.

The most recent cyclone ‘Kyarr’ was the super-cyclone that developed in October with
wind speed of 250 kmph in the Arabian Sea after a gap of 12 years. The
super-cyclone brought very heavy rain along the west coast during that time of
the year when it usually does not rain with such an intensity. ‘Kyarr’
made a landfall in Gujarat.

Also, extremely severe cyclonic storm ‘Maha’ developed
over the Arabian Sea.

There have been 31
cyclones in the last five years in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, of
which 20 have been severe cyclones
indicating an increase in frequency and severity of cyclonic storms in
the recent years.

‘Fani’ is the most recent very severe cyclonic storm,
which is the only second severe cyclone in the last 118 years
to form in the Bay of Bengal. The cyclone took a toll on life and property in
Odisha. This has been followed by ‘Bulbul’ which also caused devastation in
southern parts of Gangetic West Bengal in the Sundarbans.

The IMD had called as
‘rarest of rare’ occurrences the formation of two very severe cyclones – ‘Titli’ and
‘Luban’ – in October last year.

Source:: The Navhind Times

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