Environment & Biodiversity

Cyclone Mocha is forming in the Bay of Bengal

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a warning about the formation of a cyclonic or low-pressure system in the Bay of Bengal. Cyclone Mocha (pronounced ‘Mokha’) would be the name.

What exactly is a cyclone, and how do they form?

  • A cyclone is a low-pressure system that forms over warm waters.
  • Warm oceans provide ideal conditions for the formation and strengthening of cyclones.
  • In the northern hemisphere, air rises and blows anticlockwise around the low, while in the southern hemisphere, air rises and blows clockwise.
  • Water vapour condenses to form clouds as warm air rises and cools, which can lead to rain.
  • Storm surge, flooding, high winds, tornadoes, and lightning can all have serious consequences for people and property.

Cyclone Formation Requirements

  • There are six main requirements for tropical cyclogenesis:
  • Sufficiently warm sea surface temperatures
  • Instability in the atmosphere
  • High humidity in the troposphere’s lower to middle levels
  • There is enough Coriolis force to form a low-pressure centre.
  • A previously present low-level focus or disruption
  • Vertical wind shear is low.

How do cyclones get their names?

  • Regional specialised meteorological centres (RSMCs) and Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres (TCWCs) name cyclones that originate in all ocean basins across the world.
  • Following a routine protocol, the IMD labels cyclones emerging over the north Indian Ocean.
  • In the year 2000, a group of governments known as WMO/ESCAP decided to begin naming cyclones in the region.
  • The WMO/ESCAP Panel on Tropical Cyclones (PTC) finalised the list after each country submitted suggestions.
  • This cyclone will be named Mocha (Mokha), after the Red Sea port city that is credited with introducing coffee to the world over 500 years ago.

Why is naming cyclones important?

  • Using names for cyclones instead of numbers and scientific words makes them easier to remember.
  • Saying “Cyclone Titli” is easier and less complicated than remembering the storm’s number or longitude and latitude.
  • It benefits the scientific community, the media, disaster management, and others in addition to the general public.
  • Individual cyclones can also be identified with a name, raising awareness of their formation, promptly disseminating warnings to boost community preparedness, and so on. 
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