With more cyclones recorded in the Arabian Sea in the present decade than the one preceding it, M Rajeevan, secretary of Ministry of Earth Science (MoES), said more frequent cyclones were likely in the coming years.
In 2019, seven cyclones — Pabuk, Vayu, Fani, Hikka, Kyarr, Maha and Bulbul — were recorded in the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal. Of these, cyclones Bulbul and Maha came in quick succession after super cyclone Kyarr in the period between October and early November. Cyclone Fani, which had developed over the Bay of Bengal in April, had hit the Odisha coast and caused widespread devastation along the eastern coastal state.
“The Arabian Sea has a 60-year cycle (of cyclones) and during some epochs the number of cyclones has been higher. Currently, we are passing through a positive phase of an epoch and could see more cyclones develop in the sea. As per records, a higher number of cyclones was formed in the Arabian Sea during the present decade (2011-2020) as compared to the decade preceding it, which was relatively calmer,” Rajeevan said while referring to recent cyclones that have hit India’s coasts. Rajeevan was speaking on the sidelines of an international conference on tropical cyclones organised at Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) in Pune Monday.
According to experts, the Arabian Sea is considered to be less active, witnessing fewer cyclones than the Bay of Bengal. But the scenario, they said, has been changing in the recent years.
“Normally, two to three cyclones are reported in a year, but we do not know what exactly caused (so many) cyclones this year. Monsoon winds usually turn up ocean water and cool them down and as a result, cooler Sea Surface Temperature (SST) is recorded in Arabian Sea. However, despite a good monsoon this year the Arabian Sea continues to remain very warm,” the MoES secretary said.
Heat content in the sea, a positive phase of Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) and overall global warming could have also contributed towards the warming of the Arabian Sea this year, Rajeevan said. He added that it was, however, difficult to imagine cyclones in the Arabian Sea in October.
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