2020 is indeed a year to forget. Apart from the pandemic that changed “Normal” for all of us, pre-monsoon cyclones of the century – Amphan, Nisarga, and Nivar caused heavy destruction and deaths in several states in the country. The country recorded a whopping 124 tropical storms in 2020 itself. 2021 also hasn’t been kind and has taken many lives due to the second wave of Coronavirus. Then came Cyclone Tauktae, the first storm of 2021, that has wreaked severe destruction across several Indian states, and according to NDMA India, another cyclonic storm, Cyclone Yaas, is forecasted to hit West Bengal and the adjoining Odisha coasts in another 6 days.
Classified as a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm (VSCS), Tauktee has left a trail of destruction and has taken away the homes and lives of many people residing on Indian coastlines. According to Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Science and Technology, “In the recent past, an increase in frequency has been observed in the formation of cyclones in the North Indian Ocean. Also, studies show an increase in the frequency of severe cyclones over the Arabian Sea in recent years.”
Why so many cyclones in India?
Currently, India has seven established Cyclone Warning Centres covering its eastern and western coasts. While three of these are Chennai, Mumbai, and Kolkata, there are four Cyclone Warning Centres (CWCs) in Ahmedabad, Visakhapatnam, Thiruvananthapuram, and Bhubaneswar.
Blame it on climate change
Scientists and environmental experts are blaming the changing climate patterns for an increase in the frequency of severe cyclones over the Arabian Sea. Combined with torrential rainfall, gale winds, and lightning, these storms raise an alert and put a full stop on life and businesses for days, even weeks together.
Climate change has already warmed up the Arabian Sea. Climate scientists say warmer oceans and marine heatwaves ensuing from climate change get absorbed, thus resulting in warmer surface temperature. This results in more moisture in the atmosphere and thus increasing the frequency of cyclones.
An increase in temperatures often results in rapid intensification of these cyclonic systems. Weather systems keep moving in the equatorial region and often head for Somalia moving across the Arabian Sea. The impact of the warming of the ocean results in an increase in the incidences of tropical cyclone winds and rainfall, and further increases extreme waves along with relative sea-level rise, thus resulting in coastal hazards.
Have you faced the wrath of any recent cyclones? How has it impacted your life? How do you cope up with the after-effects? Let us know your answers in the comment section.
Stay home, stay safe.