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Cyclones in the Northern Indian Ocean



  Apr 08, 2024

Cyclones in the Northern Indian Ocean



1. What is a tropical cyclone?

A tropical cyclone is an intense circular storm that originates over warm tropical oceans and is characterized by low atmospheric pressure, high winds, and heavy rain. Drawing energy from the sea surface, they can cause widespread damage when they make landfall.

2. Why is the Northern Indian Ocean significant for tropical cyclones?

The Northern Indian Ocean, comprising the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, is notably significant due to the high incidence of devastating cyclones. Approximately 75% of the world's deadliest cyclones, each claiming over 5,000 human lives, have occurred in this region in the last three centuries. This region's unique geographical and climatic conditions contribute to the development of severe cyclonic storms.

3. What makes cyclones in the Northern Indian Ocean particularly deadly?

Several factors contribute to the lethality of cyclones in this region:

High Population Density: Coastal areas around the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea are densely populated, increasing the risk of casualties and damage.

Geographical Features: The shallow coastal waters, particularly in the Bay of Bengal, amplify storm surges, leading to extensive flooding.

Socioeconomic Factors: Many communities in the region are vulnerable due to less resilient infrastructure and limited resources for disaster preparedness and response.

4. How are cyclones detected and monitored in this region?

Cyclone detection and monitoring involve satellite imagery, radar data, and ocean buoys that measure wind, temperature, and humidity. India employs Doppler weather radars along its coastline for early detection, allowing for timely warnings and evacuations.

5. What advances in cyclone prediction have been made?

Technological advances, including the use of aircraft for in-situ data collection in the United States, represent a significant leap in cyclone tracking. These aircraft drop sensors directly into the developing storm, providing data that enhance the accuracy of predictions regarding the cyclone's path and intensity.

6. How does international collaboration contribute to cyclone management?

International collaboration, as seen with the partnership between 12 countries including India, Australia, and the USA, aims to improve ocean and atmospheric observations. Such cooperation is crucial for developing more accurate prediction models and sharing critical information, which can save lives and reduce property damage during cyclonic events.

7. What measures has India taken to mitigate cyclone impacts?

India has made significant strides in disaster management, particularly after the 1999 Super Cyclone:

Establishment of the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) before the formation of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in 2005.

Community Preparedness: Training local communities, including women’s self-help groups and volunteers, for rescue and relief operations.

Infrastructure: Building over 800 multi-purpose cyclone shelters, evacuation roads, and embankments along the coast.

Early Warning Systems: Implementing advanced early warning systems to disseminate cyclone and tsunami warnings through sirens and mass messaging.

8. What are the challenges in cyclone prediction and response?

Despite advances, challenges remain due to the complex interplay of atmospheric and oceanic factors affecting cyclones. Additionally, socioeconomic factors and the need for improved infrastructure and community resilience pose ongoing challenges.

9. How does climate change affect cyclones in the Northern Indian Ocean?

Climate change is expected to increase sea surface temperatures, potentially leading to more frequent and intense cyclones. Rising sea levels can also exacerbate storm surge impacts, highlighting the need for adaptive and proactive disaster management strategies.

10. What future steps are necessary for better cyclone management?

Future efforts should focus on enhancing early warning systems, improving infrastructure and community resilience, and continuing international collaboration for research and resource sharing. Emphasizing education and preparedness can significantly reduce the human and economic toll of cyclones in vulnerable regions.


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