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Cyclones have always been a common natural calamity. Pick up a good history book and read about cyclones. You will come to know that cyclones of varying intensity have hit planet Earth time and again. Sometimes, they have been extremely destructive. Sometimes, they have been restricted in their affect. The question is- what exactly is a cyclone?
Cyclone is the natural phenomenon when the movement of an encircled area of water is same as that of the Earth. Thus, when a cyclone hits an area, the Earth and the water start spiraling in the same direction. Thus, during a cyclone, both the Earth as well as the water moves in clockwise direction in the Southern Hemisphere and in the anticlockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere. Any cyclone generally lasts for any period between 2 to 6 days. Sometimes, a cyclone can last for even more than a week. During this period, the entire cycle of a cyclone is completed and the cyclone, then, dies down.
The next important question that arises is- why do cyclones happen? How are cyclones formed? Cyclogenesis is the process by which a Cyclone forms, strengthen and erupts. When the air present above the surface of water in an ocean gets warm, it leaves the surface of water and instead, rises up in the air. This causes an area of low air pressure just above the water. However, the atmosphere surrounding the low pressure area is still high pressured and thus, the high pressure air from the adjoining areas move to cover up the low pressure area built over the surface of water. Once, the high pressured air reaches the surface over the ocean, the same process repeats itself. The new air gets warm and rises up into the atmosphere and hence again, a void of low pressure air is created. Now, more air from adjoining areas fills in the void. This process is repeated for a long while. The air that rises up is warm and also has moisture. This air forms clouds over the surface of water. Also, there constantly is air moving below the clouds. The Earth spins on its axis and the Earth’s rotation accentuates the swirling of the wind. When the swirling speed of the wind becomes too high, a cyclone is said to erupt. It is believed that a speed of the wind within a cyclone can reach up to 280 Kilometer per hour and even more.
Sometimes, geography of a particular reason can also add to the cause of cyclone. And this is why there are six different types of cyclones- Polar, Polar Low, Extra tropical, Sub tropical, tropical and meso-cyclone. Each cyclone has been named after the geographical area which it affects. For instance, the polar cyclone is a low pressure cyclone which is formed due to freezing temperatures that remain in this area. Similarly, a tropical cyclone is formed due to the tropical winds that initiate the process of cyclone formation. Some scientists believe that the intensity of a cyclone is also affected by the climate change at the time of formation of the cyclone. Thus, the geography of an area and also the external conditions can really affect the formation as well as the speed of cyclone. A cyclone is thus a whirlwind of extremely fast moving wind. However, the centre of a cyclone is always calm and there is no danger in that area. This central part of the wind is known as the “Eye”.
There are many different types of cyclones. The categorization is based on a number of different criterions. The way tropical cyclones are named is an extremely interesting concept. In the 1950s, the people who studied the cyclones and fought with it started naming them after their girlfriends and wives. Dunn and Miller gave a unique concept of naming cyclones in 1960. They decided to name the cyclones after the famous political figures that they hated. However, in 1979, a new way of nomenclature of cyclones was adopted which allowed the cyclones to be named after both the men as well as women. The World Meteorological Organization has adopted six lists of names that they use to name a cyclone which erupts over the North Atlantic. If all the names in the six lists are used, the cyclones will then be named after Greek alphabets.
The cyclones that erupt over the Eastern Pacific Ocean are named by two standard Regional Specialized Meteorological centers- the National Hurricane Centre and Centre Pacific Hurricane Centre. In Philippines, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical services administration is the national unit for naming the cyclones. Yet again, the organization has a set list of names from which that they grant name to every new cyclone that hits the area. The name of the cyclones that hit India is given by Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre which is located in New Delhi. Thus, we see that every country or geographical area has adopted its own unique system of naming cyclones. Mostly, the names given to the cyclones are the common name of men and women living in that area.
As said earlier, Cyclones are a natural calamity and hence, there is not much that one can do to stop them. All we can do is learning how to best cope up with them. However, human destructive activities like deforestation, over grazing etc.
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