Cyclone Tauktae

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    Cyclone Tauktae which formed over the Southeast Arabian Sea heads towards Gujarat, likely to intensify into a ‘very severe’ storm.

    About

    • With its prevalence in Arabian Sea,it will affect the West Coast states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Goa and UTs like Lakshadweep, where IMD forecasted heavy rains.
    • It will move north-northwestwards and there is also the possibility of the storm changing its course towards Kutch and South Pakistan. This shows that the cyclones keep changing their trajectory.
    • The name is given from a Burmese word ‘Tauktae’ suggested by Myanmar, which means gecko, a lizard known for its distinctive vocalizations.

    Cyclones

    • A cyclone is any low-pressure area with winds spiralling inwards and is caused by atmospheric disturbances around a low-pressure area distinguished by swift and often destructive air circulation
    • The air circulates inward in an anticlockwise direction in the Northern hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern hemisphere.
    • The centre of a cyclone is a calm area. It is called the eye of the storm. The diameter of the eye varies from 10 to 30 km. It is a region free of clouds and has light winds.
    • Around this calm and clear eye, there is a cloud region of about 150 km in size. In this region there are high-speed winds (150–250 km/h) and thick clouds with heavy rain. Away from this region the wind speed gradually decreases.
    • A large cyclone is a violently rotating mass of air in the atmosphere, 10 to 15 km high
    • A cyclone is known by different names in different parts of the world as:

    Name

    Region

    Hurricane

    American continent.

    Typhoon

    Philippines and Japan

    Willy-Willy

    Australia

    Cyclone

    Indian Subcontinent

    Formation of Cyclones

    • Before cloud formation, water takes up heat from the atmosphere to change into vapour. When water vapour changes back to liquid form as raindrops, this heat is released to the atmosphere. 
    • The heat released to the atmosphere warms the air around. The air tends to rise and causes a drop in pressure. More air rushes to the centre of the storm. This cycle is repeated. 
    • The chain of events ends with the formation of a very low-pressure system with very high-speed winds revolving around it. It is this weather condition that is called a cyclone. 
    • Factors like wind speed, wind direction, temperature and humidity contribute to the development of cyclones.
    • The conditions which favour the formation and intensification of tropical cyclone storms are:
      • Sea surface with a temperature higher than 27° C,
      • Coriolis force,
      • Small differences in the vertical wind speed,
      • Weak- low-pressure area.

    Formation of Cyclone (Image Courtesy: NCERT)

    Types of Cyclones

    • Two major types of cyclones are:
      • Tropical Cyclone: Cyclones that develop in the regions between the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer are called tropical cyclones. Tropical cyclones are large-scale weather systems developing over tropical or subtropical waters, where they get organized into surface wind circulation.
      • Extra tropical Cyclone (also called Temperate Cyclone): They occur in temperate zones and high latitude regions. In contrast with tropical cyclones, extratropical cyclones produce rapid changes in temperature and dew point along broad lines, called weather fronts, about the center of the cyclone.
    • The development cycle of tropical cyclones may be divided into three stages:
    • Formation and Initial Development Stage
    • Mature Tropical Cyclones
    • Modification and Decay
    • Formation and Initial Development Stage
      • The formation and initial development of a cyclonic storm depends upon various conditions. These are:
        • A warm sea (a temperature in excess of 26 degrees Celsius to a depth of 60 m) with abundant and turbulent transfer of water vapour to the overlying atmosphere by evaporation.
        • Atmospheric instability encourages formation of massive vertical cumulus clouds due to convection with condensation of rising air above ocean surface.
    • Mature Tropical Cyclones
      • When a tropical storm intensifies, the air rises in vigorous thunderstorms and tends to spread out horizontally at the tropopause level. 
      • Once air spreads out, a positive perturbation pressure at high levels is produced, which accelerates the downward motion of air due to convection. 
      • With the inducement of subsidence, air warms up by compression and a warm ‘Eye’ is generated. 
      • Generally, the ‘Eye’ of the storms has three basic shapes: (i) circular; (ii) concentric; and (iii) elliptical. The main physical feature of a mature tropical cyclone in the Indian Ocean is a concentric pattern of highly turbulent giant cumulus thundercloud bands.
    • Modification and Decay
      • A tropical cyclone begins to weaken in terms of its central low pressure, internal warmth and extremely high speeds, as soon as its source of warm moist air begins to ebb, or is abruptly cut off
      • This happens after its landfall or when it passes over cold waters.

    Nomenclature

    • The names are maintained and updated by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization.
    • The tropical cyclones /hurricanes are named neither after any particular person, nor with any preference in alphabetical sequence.
    • The Regional Specialised Meteorological Centres (RSMCs) – They are responsible for monitoring and prediction of tropical cyclones over their respective regions. They are also responsible for naming the cyclones.
    • There is a strict procedure to determine a list of tropical cyclone names in an ocean basin(s) by the Tropical Cyclone Regional Body responsible for that basin(s) at its annual/biennial meeting. 
    • The importance for naming tropical cyclones: 
      • It helps to identify each individual tropical cyclone. 
      • It facilitates disaster risk awareness, preparedness, management and reduction
      • Local and international media become focused on the tropical cyclone.
      • It removes confusion where there are multiple cyclonic systems over a region.
      • Warnings reach a much wider audience very rapidly, if a name is associated with it.

    India Meteorological Department (IMD)

    • It was established in 1875
    • It is the principal government agency in all matters relating to meteorology and allied subjects.
    • It is under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).

    Bomb cyclone

    • It is actually used by meteorologists to indicate a mid-latitude cyclone that intensifies rapidly
    • It is a massive winter storm hammering the coast, bringing strong winds, flooding, ice and snow. 
    • It is a combination of rapidly declining pressure and extreme cold
    • This particular storm is the most explosive ever, observed on the east coast. 
    • It is called bomb cyclone, a dramatic name for what happens when the storm explosively strengthens while the pressure plummets.

    Sources: IE