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Environmental Bytes: How tropical cyclones are named?

How tropical cyclones are named?

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How tropical cyclones are named?
How tropical cyclones are named?

In News: How tropical cyclones are named?

  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) recently released a list of 169 names of future tropical cyclones that would emerge in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.
  • Cyclones that form in every ocean basin across the world are named by the regional specialised meteorological centres (RSMCs) and Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres (TCWCs).
  • There are six RSMCs in the world, including the India Meteorological Department (IMD), and five TCWCs.
  • As an RSMC, the IMD names the cyclones developing over the north Indian Ocean, including the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea, after following a standard procedure.
  • The IMD is also mandated to issue advisories to 12 other countries in the region on the development of cyclones and storms.

What is the need for naming cyclones?

  • Adopting names for cyclones makes it easier for people to remember, as opposed to numbers and technical terms.
  • Apart from the general public, it also helps the scientific community, the media, disaster managers etc.
  • With a name, it is easy to identify individual cyclones, create awareness of its development, rapidly disseminate warnings to increased community preparedness and remove confusion where there are multiple cyclonic systems over a region.

Guidelines to adopt names of cyclones:

  • While picking names for cyclones, there are some rules that countries need to follow. If these guidelines are followed, the name is accepted by the panel on tropical cyclones (PTC) that finalizes the selection.
  • The guidelines to adopt names of cyclones are as follows:
    1. The maximum length of the proposed name should be eight letters.
    2. It should be short, easy to pronounce and should be provided with its pronunciation and voice over.
    3. It should not be very rude and cruel in nature and should be chosen in such a way that it does not hurt the sentiments of any group of population over the globe.
    4. It should be neutral to politics and political figures, religious beliefs, cultures and gender.
    5. The names of tropical cyclones over the north Indian Ocean should not be repeated. Once used, it will cease to be used again, so the name suggested should be new.

WMO/ESCAP panel on tropical cyclones:

  • The WMO/ESCAP (World Meteorological Organisation/United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific) panel on tropical cyclones was founded in 1972.
  • It was formed to promote and coordinate the measures to minimize loss of life and material damage caused by tropical cyclones and associated floods and storm surges in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.
  • In 2000, the WMO/ESCAP decided to start naming cyclones in the Asia Pacific region, when it comprised of Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
  • After each country sent in suggestions, the WMO/ESCAP Panel on Tropical Cyclones (PTC) finalised the list.
  • The WMO/ESCAP later expanded to include five more countries in 2018 — Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
  • The list of 169 cyclone names released by IMD, in April 2020 were provided by these countries — 13 suggestions from each of the 13 countries.

Names of cyclones suggested by India:

  • The 13 names in the recent list that have been suggested by India include: Gati, Tej, Murasu, Aag, Vyom, Jhar (pronounced Jhor), Probaho, Neer, Prabhanjan, Ghurni, Ambud, Jaladhi and Vega.
  • Some of the names picked by India were suggested by the general public. An IMD committee is formed to finalise the names before sending it to the PTC.

About: India Meteorological Department (IMD)

  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • It is the National Meteorological Service of the country and the principal government agency in all matters relating to meteorology, seismology and allied subjects.
  • Established in 1875, IMD is headquartered in Delhi and operates hundreds of observation stations across India and Antarctica.

Functions of IMD:

  • To take meteorological observations and to provide current and forecast meteorological information for optimum operation of weather-sensitive activities like agriculture, irrigation, shipping, aviation, offshore oil explorations, etc.
  • To warn against severe weather phenomena like tropical cyclones, norwesters, duststorms, heavy rains and snow, cold and heat waves, etc., which cause destruction of life and property.
  • To provide meteorological statistics required for agriculture, water resource management, industries, oil exploration and other nation-building activities.
  • To conduct and promote research in meteorology and allied disciplines.
  • To detect and locate earthquakes and to evaluate seismicity in different parts of the country for development projects.

About: World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

  • WMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) with 193 Member States and Territories. It originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), which was founded in 1873.
  • Established in 1950, the WMO became a specialized agency of the United Nations in 1951 and is headquartered in Geneva.
  • Its mandate is in the areas of meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences.
  • It facilitates free and unrestricted exchange of data and information, products and services on matters relating to safety and security of society, economic welfare and the protection of the environment.
  • It also contributes to policy formulation in the areas mentioned above at national and international levels, along with supporting the implementation of a number of environmental conventions.

Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP):

  • The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is one of the five regional commissions under the jurisdiction of the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
  • The Commission was first established by the Economic and Social Council in 1947 as the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE) to assist in post-war economic reconstruction.
  • In 1974, the Commission was renamed to the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) to reflect both the economic and social aspects of the Commission’s work, as well as geographic location of its members.
  • It was established in order to increase economic activity in Asia and the Far East, as well as to foster economic relations between the region and other areas of the world.
  • The Commission is composed of 53 Member States and nine Associate members, mostly from the Asia and Pacific regions.
  • The region covered by the Commission is home to 4.1 billion people, or two thirds of the world’s population, making ESCAP the most comprehensive of the United Nations’ five regional commissions.

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